Research Article| Volume 29, ISSUE 4, 104561, April 2020

Assessment of the Progression of Poststroke Depression in Ischemic Stroke Patients Using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9



      Poststroke depression (PSD) affects one-third of stroke patients and is linked with higher stroke morbidity, mortality, and recurrence. Current guidelines do not direct when to screen for PSD, and predictors of PSD are not well understood. We sought to understand progression of PSD symptoms early after ischemic stroke, identify predictors of PSD, and describe the use of antidepressants in PSD.


      We collected demographic, clinical, and PSD (Patient Health Questionnaire-9; PHQ-9) data from ischemic stroke patients hospitalized at our Comprehensive Stroke Center and followed up in our clinic. PHQ-9 was obtained during hospitalization and again in clinic within 180 days of discharge. We performed univariate analysis and logistic regression to detect variables associated with PSD.


      Among 201 patients, PSD symptoms (PHQ-9 > 4) were identified in 30% of patients during hospitalization and 46% during follow-up (54% of which had no symptoms during hospitalization). At follow-up, 36% were worse by PHQ-9 category. In univariate analysis, follow-up modified Rankin Scale (mRS) greater than or equal to 2 (P = .03) and antidepressant prescription (P < .001) were associated with worsening PHQ-9 category. In logistic regression analysis, follow-up mRS greater than or equal to 2 (P = .02), posterior circulation stroke (P = .03), and antidepressant prescription (P < .01) were associated with worsening PHQ-9 category.


      Almost half of ischemic stroke patients develop PSD symptoms and more than one-third worsen between hospitalization and follow-up. Poststroke disability (mRS ≥ 2) and posterior circulation stroke were associated with worsening PSD. Worsening PSD symptoms prompted treatment change in 29% of patients. Screening for PSD during hospitalization should be repeated during early follow-up.

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