Background: Although post-stroke depression is widely recognized, less is known about depressive symptoms in the acute stage of stroke and especially in young stroke patients. We thus investigated depressive symptoms and their determinants in such a cohort. Methods: The Stroke in Young Fabry Patients study (sifap1) prospectively recruited a large multinational European cohort (n = 5,023) of patients with a cerebrovascular event aged 18-55. For assessing clinically relevant depressive symptoms (CRDS, defined by a BDI-score ≥18) the self-reporting Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was obtained on inclusion in the study. Associations with baseline parameters, stroke severity (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, NIHSS), and brain MRI findings were analyzed. Results: From the 2007 patients with BDI documentation, 202 (10.1%) had CRDS. CRDS were observed more frequently in women (12.6 vs. 8.2% in men, p < 0.001). Patients with CRDS more often had arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hyperlipidemia than patients without CRDS (hypertension: 58.0 vs. 47.1%, p = 0.017; diabetes mellitus: 17.9 vs. 8.9%, p < 0.001; hyperlipidemia: 40.5 vs. 32.3%, p = 0.012). In the subgroup of patients with ischemic stroke or TIA (n = 1,832) no significant associations between CRDS and cerebral MRI findings such as the presence of acute infarcts (68.1 vs. 65.8%, p = 0.666), old infarctions (63.4 vs. 62.1%, p = 0.725) or white matter hyper-intensities (51.6 vs. 53.7%, p = 0.520) were found. Conclusion: Depressive symptoms were present in 10.1% of young stroke patients in the acute phase, and were related to risk factors but not to imaging findings.

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