Depression increases risk of early death in survivors of heart failure

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Depressed heart failure patients are four times more likely to die and twice as likely to go to the emergency room or be hospitalized than patients who are not depressed. This is according to new research from the Mayo Clinic.

Alanna M. Chamberlain, PhD, PPH, lead author and assistant professor of epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences Research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., explained:

Depression is a key driver of healthcare use in heart failure. Treatment programs should be tailored to each patient’s needs with greater emphasis on managing depression either through medication or lifestyle interventions.

Three-year study tracked health of heart failure patients

From 2007 to 2010, 402 heart failure patients participated in a survey, completing a short questionnaire. Based on the answers to nine questions, researchers found that 59 percent of patients were classified as having no depression, 26 percent had mild depression and 15 percent had moderate to severe depression.

The participants were followed for a year and a half. Most of the patients were white, and one-third of the moderate to severely depressed patients were taking antidepressants. Others may have been participating in therapy without taking medication.

For those with even mild depression the risk of death increased by 60 percent compared to those without depression. There were, however, fewer hospital visits and hospitalizations reported by this group.

“We measured depression with a one-time questionnaire, so we cannot account for changes in depression symptoms over time,” Chamberlain noted. “Further research is warranted to develop more effective clinical approaches for management of depression in heart failure patients.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Mayo Clinic

 
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