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GP emergency management

Depression after mitral valve replacement

Vivienne Miller

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Abstract

Depression is common after cardiac surgery, and patients’ circumstances should be asked about in postdischarge consultations.

Key Points

  • Always thoroughly examine patients who have been discharged from hospital after cardiac illness.
  • Always consider the patient’s circumstances and mental health after serious medical illness.
  • Be alert to psychomotor retardation as a presentation of depression – patients with this often require hospitalisation.
  • Be wary of decreasing a patient’s antidepressants in a GP setting when the patient is already seriously depressed, and especially at a time of crisis.
  • Always consider QT prolongation (with the associated increased risk of ventricular arrhythmias) in patients who are on multiple medications (especially when there is a cardiac and psychiatric history).

    Picture credit: © Ramvseb/Dollar Photo Club

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