Heart Patients Vulnerable to Depression
"Depression and heart disease seem to be very much intertwined," Judith H. Lichtman of Yale University of School of Public Health said in a statement. "You can't treat the heart in isolation from the patient's mental health."
The statement that screening heart patients for depression is part of a scientific advisory issued by the American Heart Association and co-authored by Lichtman.
The American Psychiatric Association has endorsed the statement and recommends:
- Routine and frequent screening for depression in patients with chronic heart disease in a variety of settings, including the hospital, physician's office and cardiac rehabilitation center.
- Help for patients with positive screening results by a professional qualified to diagnose and manage treatment for depression.
- Careful monitoring of patients to ensure adherence to their treatment plan.
While there is no evidence that screening for depression leads to improved outcomes for people with cardiovascular complications, the advisory does state that depression is linked with increased morbidity and mortality, lower rates of cardiac rehabilitation and poorer quality of life, Lichtman said.