To determine the existence of association between depressive symptoms and mortality in older individuals in Latin America.
A systematic review with meta-analysis was performed based on published studies indexed in PubMed, Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO), Web of Science, Cochrane Library, Scopus, and LILACS (Literatura Latino-Americana e do Caribe em Ciências da Saúde). The review protocol was registered in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO), and structured according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). Meta-analysis was performed using random effects models, and the data analyzed included crude relative risk (RR) and heterogeneity, with poin estimates and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI).
Five studies, performed in Brazil and Mexico, were included in the meta-analysis, for a total of 8 954 older individuals. RR for mortality in the presence of depressive symptoms was 1.44 (95%CI: 1.16; 1.78). Heterogeneity was 80.87%. Meta-regression showed that the higher the proportion of women in the sample, the higher the mortality risk associated with depressive symptoms; and that the longer the study follow-up, the lower the risk of mortality associated with depressive symptoms.
The presence of depressive symptoms was positively associated with mortality in older Latin American individuals. The RR for death was 44.0% higher in individuals with depressive symptoms as compared to those without depressive symptoms. The main study limitations were the lower number of studies retrieved through systematic review and the variety of scales used to determine the presence of depressive symptoms.