(HealthDay News) — Depressive symptoms seem to be associated with coronary artery calcium in older men and women, according to a study published in The American Journal of Cardiology.

John Bellettiere, MPH, from San Diego State University, and colleagues examined the correlation between depressive symptoms and coronary artery calcium and coronary artery calcium progression in a cohort of 417 community-dwelling older adults. 

Participants attended a 1997 to 1999 research clinic visit; depressive symptoms were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Electron-beam computed tomography was used to measure coronary artery calcium in 2000 to 2002 and in 2005 to 2007.

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The researchers found that 39% of men and 10% of women had severe coronary artery calcium in 2000 to 2002. There was a negative association for coronary artery calcium severity by BDI quartiles in women: Compared with women in the second BDI quartile, women with the lowest depressive symptoms had 2.4-fold odds of increasing coronary artery calcium severity. 

In men there was a nonlinear, U-shaped association: Compared with men in the second quartile, those in the first and fourth BDI quartiles had 2.6- and 3.0-fold higher odds of increasing coronary artery calcium severity, after adjustment for coronary heart disease risk factors. There were no significant correlations for coronary artery calcium progression, although in men, similar nonlinear patterns were seen.

“Depressive symptoms have a gender-specific, cross-sectional association with [coronary artery calcium] but no statistically significant associations with [coronary artery calcium] progression,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Bellettiere J, Kritz-Silverstein D, Laughlin GA, LaCroix AZ, McEvoy LK, Barrett-Connor E. Relation of Depressive Symptoms With Coronary Artery Calcium Determined by Electron-Beam Computed Tomography (from the Rancho Bernardo Study). Am J Cardiol. 2016;117(3):325-332.