Depression and ischemic heart disease (IHD) are strongly related common disorders. Depression itself is an independent cardiac risk factor and is associated with a two- to threefold increase in IHD mortality. Attention has now shifted to identifying the common underlying mechanisms that could make individuals susceptible to both disorders. Abnormalities that have been implicated in this relationship include abnormal platelet activation, decreased baroreceptor sensitivity and endothelial dysfunction. Depression and IHD both have a high association with environmental stress, and depression is characterized by abnormalities of the stress-hormone axis. This review provides a brief overview of some recent developments in our understanding of the pathophysiological links between stress, depression and IHD.