Poststroke depression: A review

Robert G. Robinson, Gianfranco Spalletta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To review the world's (English-language) publications related to depression following stroke. Method: The databases from MEDLINE and PubMed were reviewed for articles related to poststroke depression (PSD), depression and cerebral vascular accident, depression and cerebral vascular disease, and depression and cerebral infarction. Results: Most studies examined prevalence rates of depression and the clinical correlates of depression. Based on pooled data, the overall prevalence of major depression was 21.7% and minor depression was 19.5%. The strongest single correlate of depression was severity of impairment in activities of daily living. However, the existence of depression at baseline was found to be associated with greater impairment at follow-up, ranging from 6 weeks to 2 years in 83% of studies. Further, depression following acute stroke was also associated with greater cognitive impairment and increased mortality. PSD has been shown in 6 double-blind controlled studies to be effectively treated with antidepressants, and 1 study has recently shown that PSD can be effectively prevented. Conclusions: During the past 20 years, significant progress has been made in the identification and treatment of depression following stroke. In the future, antidepressant treatment will likely play an increasing role in the management of patients with acute stroke. Further research is needed to identify the mechanisms of depression and why antidepressants lead to improved physical and cognitive recovery and decreased mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-349
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Diagnosis
  • Mechanism of depression
  • Mortality
  • Poststroke depression
  • Prevalence
  • Stroke-related impairments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine(all)


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