-- Alan Mozes
MONDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Heart failure patients whose
depression worsens with time are less likely to fare well in the
long-run than patients whose depressive symptoms either stabilize
or dissipate, a new study indicates.
The research team from Duke University Medical Center said that
their study, published in the Jan. 25 issue of the
Journal of the American College of Cardiology, is the first to track heart patient health along these lines.
In a journal news release, the study authors observed that as a
result of their findings "it may be prudent for clinicians to
reassess symptoms of depression routinely in heart failure patients
to determine better appropriate medical management of these
The current findings stem from an assessment of the mental and
physical health of 147 heart failure patients who were examined at
the outset of the study and then again one year later.
The team then tracked their cardiovascular health for an average
of five years.
The investigators found that relative to patients whose
depression was more or less stable, those patients whose depression
worsened during the one-year study period faced double the risk for
negative outcomes, such as heart attack, stroke or the need for
A worsening depression also bumped up the risk for having to be
hospitalized and/or dying from any cause, although not to the same
degree as it raised the specific risk for heart health
As a result of their findings, the Duke team concluded that
health providers should support the American Heart Association's
recommendation for depression screening among heart failure
patients, adding that 24 percent to 42 percent of the more than 5
million Americans living with the condition are estimated to be
diagnosed with depression.
However, in an accompanying editorial, Dr. Peter Shapiro of
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York
City, and Ingrid Connerney from the University of Maryland School
of Nursing noted that depression among cardiac patients is often
under-diagnosed. They suggest that cardiologists should be armed
with depression screening tools, so as to be prepared to refer
patients in need of treatment.
For more on heart disease and depression, visit the
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