Depression After Open Heart Surgery: Influences of Optimism, Sex, and Event-Related Medical Factors

Amy L. Ai, Susan S. Smyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Postoperative depression is a multifaceted condition that can limit quality of life and potentially decrease the survival benefits of open heart surgery (OHS). We postulated that sex, pre-event character strengths, medical, and certain surgery indicators would predict post-event/myocardial infarction depression. To identify predictors, we collected three-wave survey data from 481 OHS patients at a large academic referral institution (age, 62+; female, 42%) and included key medical and surgical information. The final model (F[7, N = 293] = 28.15, p < 0.001, R2 = 0.408) accounted for over two fifths of the variance in post-OHS depression. Pre-event/OHS optimism mitigated post-OHS depression. Being female, older, living alone, longer surgical perfusion time, absence of left main disease greater than 50%, and pre-OHS depression were associated with the increased likelihood of post-OHS depression. Our findings suggest that teaching optimism to OHS patients might be beneficial in reducing the risk of postoperative depression and that female patients should be monitored more closely for the development of depression through an interdisciplinary approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-217
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Depression in advanced heart disease
  • dispositional optimism
  • gender/sex differences
  • medical confounders
  • open heart surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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