NEW STUDY: Depression Slows Recovery from Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

A new study has led to researchers discovering that depression may significantly affect the rate in which a person recovers from Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD.)

NEW STUDY - Depression Slows Recovery from Peripheral Arterial Disease

Based on the results of a new study, patients with Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) who show symptoms of depression, may have a tougher time recovering from their condition because of their mental health.

This new discovery has the potential to significantly change the future of PAD recovery. One that may demand more focus to be spent in addressing a patient’s mental health — which is already known to deteriorate after vascular procedures like bypass surgery.

Below, we explore the relationship between mental health and Peripheral Arterial Disease as it pertains to the subject of treatment and recovery.

Peripheral Arterial Disease Recovery

Because of COVID-19, vascular procedures have been put on hold; and it’s more important than ever that patients with PAD are actively living healthier to stay the progression of Peripheral Arterial Disease. Which involves a long-term process that includes one or more of the following treatments:

  • Medication: Medication for PAD can take many forms. Some patients may have to take antiplatelets to prevent blood clots from forming and blocking up already narrowed blood pathways; beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors may have to be taken by patients who have hypertension; nitrates may be required for patients suffering from angina; and so on.
  • Diet: Patients with PAD are also required to follow a healthier diet to decrease their risk of cardiovascular diseases that may worsen their condition.
  • Exercise: Much like with dietary changes, patients who have PAD will be required to exercise more so that they can manage the risk factors of their condition (like their cholesterol levels or their blood pressure.)
  • Smoking Cessation: As one of the known risk factors for atherosclerosis (the main cause for PAD), PAD patients who smoke should quit smoking immediately. Smoking cessation has already been proven to cause atherosclerosis. And, conversely, it is also known that some PAD patients that quit smoking see significant and almost instantaneous recovery from their condition. 

All the treatment methods mentioned above require careful regulation and deliberation. And, it’s not wrong to say that it would also demand a lot of motivation from the patient. This is why researchers decided to look into how one’s mental health may affect their recovery from PAD.

PAD & Mental Health

According to the study in question, authored by Dr. Qurat-Ul-Ain Jelani and her team:

“A major goal of PAD treatment is improving patients’ health status and quality of life,” and so “…not recognizing or treating depressive symptoms may stand in the way of realizing optimal recovery.”

To put it simply, they believe that a patient’s mental health can negatively affect the progression of a PAD patient’s recovery. To the point that patients who showed symptoms of depression were more likely to suffer worse health conditions; even with highly regulated care. And this was something that they observed in a majority of the 1,243 patients that they were studying.

Their conclusion then, is that future PAD recovery plans should take the patient’s mental health into account — more specifically, the patients that are showing symptoms of depression. How is this relevant to vascular procedures like bypass surgery? Well…

Bypass Surgery & Depression

As we discussed in a previous article, PAD patients who choose to get a bypass surgery done are at risk for depression. This is considered normal, and the symptoms often go away after a couple of weeks, but there are some cases where the symptoms of depression linger.

In those cases, the patient’s health is in danger. Not only because their recovery rate will be significantly slower than most, but because it may result in further complications that will worsen their condition.

That is why Dr. Jelani and her team continue to research and observe this new correlation. In hopes of preventing medical emergencies that may arise as a result of poor mental health management. Again, this is even more important now that vascular procedures like bypass surgery are made nearly impossible with the pandemic.


  1. Jelani, Q., Mena‐Hurtado, C., Burg, M., Soufer, R., Gosch, K., Jones, P. G., . . . Smolderen, K. G. (2020). Relationship Between Depressive Symptoms and Health Status in Peripheral Artery Disease: Role of Sex Differences. Journal of the American Heart Association, 9(16). doi:10.1161/jaha.119.014583
  2. 7 months ago Bypass Insights, Bypass Insights, & *, N. (2020, February 15). The Dangers of Bypass Surgery: Depression and Anxiety. Retrieved August 29, 2020, from

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