Depression following small vessel stroke is common and more prevalent in women

Braydon Dymm, Larry B. Goldstein, Shakthi Unnithan, Hussein R. Al-Khalidi, Deborah Koltai, Cheryl Bushnell, Nada El Husseini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: We sought to examine the frequency of depression after small vessel-type stroke (SVS) and associated risk factors. Materials and methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of a prospective cohort of patients enrolled in the American Stroke Association-Bugher SVS Study, which included 200 participants within 2-years of SVS and 79 controls without a history of stroke from 2007 to 2012 at four sites. The primary outcome was PHQ-8, with scores ≥10 consistent with post-stroke depression (PSD). A logistic regression adjusted for age, race, sex, history of diabetes and Short-Form Montreal Cognitive Assessment score (SF-MoCA) was used to compare the risk of having depression after SVS compared to controls. Another logistic regression, adjusted for age, sex, race, level of education, SF-MoCA, white matter disease (WMD) burden, stroke severity (NIHSS), time between stroke and depression screen, history of diabetes, and history of hypertension was used to identify factors independently associated with depression in participants with SVS. Results: The cohort included 161 participants with SVS (39 excluded due to missing data) and 79 controls. The mean interval between stroke and depression screening was 74 days. Among participants with SVS, 31.7% (n = 51) had PSD compared to 6.3% (n = 5) of controls (RR = 5.44, 95% CI = 2.21-13.38, p = 0.0002). The only two variables independently associated with PSD in participants with SVS were female sex (RR = 1.84, 95% CI = 1.09-3.09, p = 0.020) and diabetes (RR 1.69, 95% CI 1.03-2.79). Conclusions: After adjusting for several demographic and clinical variables, having a SVS was associated with an approximate 5-fold increased risk of depression and was more frequent in women and in those with diabetes. The extent of WMD was not independently associated with PSD, suggesting that small vessel disease in the setting of an overt SVS may not account for the increased prevalence of depression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107646
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024


  • Post-stroke depressio
  • Small vessel stroke
  • Stroke outcomes
  • White matter disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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