Exercise Linked to Less Depression in Heart Failure

Lower depression scores at three and 12 months for patients randomized to exercise training

Exercise Linked to Less Depression in Heart Failure

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with heart failure, exercise training is associated with a modest reduction in depression symptoms, according to a study published in the Aug. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

James A. Blumenthal, Ph.D., from Duke University in Durham, N.C., and colleagues conducted a multicenter trial in which 2,322 stable patients treated for heart failure were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive supervised aerobic exercise (goal of 90 min/week for months one to three followed by home exercise with a goal of ≥120 min/week for months four to 12) or education and usual guideline-based heart failure care. Patients completed the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II).

The researchers found that, over a median of 30 months of follow-up, 68 percent of patients in the usual-care group died or were hospitalized, compared with 66 percent in the aerobic-exercise group (hazard ratio [HR], 0.89; P = 0.03). At study entry the median BDI-II score was 8, with 28 percent having BDI-II scores of 14 or higher (clinically significant). Significantly lower mean BDI-II scores were seen in the aerobic-exercise group compared with the usual-care group at three months (8.95 versus 9.70; difference P = 0.002) and 12 months (8.86 versus 9.54; difference P = 0.01).

"Compared with guideline-based usual care, exercise training resulted in a modest reduction in depressive symptoms, although the clinical significance of this improvement is unknown," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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