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Depression in Heart Failure Linked to Poorer Outcomes

Meta-analysis finds much higher depression rates in those with advanced disease

THURSDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Although one in five heart failure patients reports clinically significant depression -- which is linked to poorer outcomes -- the rate may be higher in those who have advanced disease or when patients are screened with questionnaires, according to research in the Oct. 17 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Thomas Rutledge, Ph.D., of the VA San Diego Health Care System in California, and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of 36 studies that examined heart failure and depression including prevalence, outcomes and treatment efficacy.

Clinically significant depression was reported in 21.5 percent of patients, depending on whether questionnaires or diagnostic interviews were used (33.6 percent and 19.3 percent, respectively) and increased with disease severity. Depressed patients had higher death and secondary event rates, and there was a trend toward more hospitalization. Treatment studies suggested a reduction in depression symptoms, the researchers found.

"Clinically significant depression is present in at least one in five patients with heart failure; however, depression rates can be much higher among patients screened with questionnaires or with more advanced heart failure. The relationship between depression and poorer heart failure outcomes is consistent and strong across multiple end points. These findings reinforce the importance of psychosocial research in heart failure populations and identify a number of areas for future study," the authors concluded.

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