According to a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology people with heart failure should be screened for depression because those who suffer from this condition are more likely to die faster.
Depression increases the risk of death by heart failure by five times. Moreover, according to the study, the increased risk was not influenced by the severity and comorbidities of heart failures. Heart patients who were not depressed had 80%lower risk of mortality. The author of the study, Professor John Cleland of the Imperial College London and the University of Hull said that it is already known that depression is often met in heart failure patients and it affects 20% to 40% of the patients.
The research was conducted on 154 patients of which 27 had mild depression and 24 suffered from moderate to severe depression. After a review of 302 days 27 of the patients died.
Cleland explained that almost one-quarter of the patients hospitalized with heart failure are within one month readmitted for various reasons. Over one year most patients will have had one or even more readmissions and nearly half will have died. He added:
“Our results show that depression is strongly associated with death during the year following discharge from hospital after an admission for the exacerbation of heart failure; we expect that the link persists beyond one year.”
The researchers investigated in a holistic manner the reasons for readmission and death in the case of patients suffering from heart failure. The predictors and reasons included physical, mental and social frailty and the comorbidities and the severity of heart failure.
Professor Cleland remarked that doctors are members of a caring profession and they should therefore be sympathetic to the problems of their patients. However, he remarked, that he is against immediately prescribing antidepressants. Past studies indicate that they are not effective in reducing depression when it comes to patients who have heart failure. According to Cleland clinicians should instead screen patients who have heart failure for depression and those who are affected by this condition should be referred for counseling.
If depression is recognized and managed mortality rates could be reduced in the case of heart failure patients. Further research is needed in order to discover what can be done to manage depression. This may require improved treatments for both heart failure and depression itself.
Image Source: medimoon.com