MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Doctors are drawing new attention to the link between cardiac surgery and depression in the days following the suicide of beloved actor Robin Williams.
Williams’ sudden death has left many looking for answers, and a rep for the actor has told reporters that Williams had been suffering from depression. There’s no evidence to suggest that Williams’ depression was connected to his heart surgeries, but some doctors are using the occasion to draw attention to the issue and urge patients to reach out if they need help.
Williams had surgery in 2009 at the Cleveland Clinic to repair his aortic and mitral valves and to treat abnormal heart rhythms, according to NY Daily News. Between 20-40% of heart surgery patients experience cardiac depression, American Heart Assn. and American Stroke Assn. spokesperson and cardiologist Dr. Tara Narula told the paper.
"There are so many things we can do to help people with depression, but if you don’t recognize you have it, you’re never going to be able to get treatment," she added.
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