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Depression Ups Heart Failure Death Risk

Doctors need to pay more attention to patients' mental health, study suggests

SATURDAY, March 24, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Depression significantly increases the risk of major health problems and even death in elderly people with chronic heart failure, an Italian study finds.

"This trial demonstrates the critical importance of mental health monitoring for successful management of heart failure in this population," study co-author Dr. Aldo Maggioni, of the ANMCO Research Center in Florence, said in a prepared statement.

His team studied almost 19,000 patients over the age of 60 with heart failure. Of these, more than 2,400 were receiving drug treatment for depression before their diagnosis of heart failure. The patients being treated for depression tended to be older, female, and more likely to have a history of peripheral vascular disease and stroke than those without depression.

The heart failure patients with depression were much more likely to die or suffer problems such as stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mild stroke), heart attack, and to require re-hospitalization, the researchers reported.

"Effective methods to monitor and treat depression in nursing homes should be implemented to improve the quality of life for patients with heart failure," Maggioni said.

The study was expected to be presented Sunday at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting, in New Orleans.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about heart failure.

SOURCE: American College of Cardiology, news release, March 24, 2007
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