Heart Failure Patients With Depression Face Elevated Mortality Risk

Pharmacy Times, October 2015 Diabetes, Volume 81, Issue 10

Moderate to severe depression is associated with a significantly increased risk of death in patients with heart failure.

Moderate to severe depression is associated with a significantly increased risk of death in patients with heart failure (HF), according to the results of a recent study.

The study, presented at the 2015 meeting of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology, administered an assessment of depression to 154 patients who were hospitalized with HF. The study authors determined that 103 patients were not depressed, 27 had mild depression, and 24 had moderate to severe depression; additionally, 27 patients passed away over an average follow-up of 302 days.

The research team found that patients with moderate to severe depression had a 5-fold increased risk of death compared with those with no or mild depression, independent of factors such as sex, age, hypertension, severity of HF, and comorbidities. The researchers also discovered that patients who were not depressed had an 80% lower mortality risk.

The study authors were hesitant to recommend antidepressants to these patients due to previous research indicating that such medications are not effective in reducing depression in patients with HF. The authors did, however, advise clinicians to screen patients with HF for depression and to consider referring the patients with depression to counselling.

“Our research clearly shows a strong association between depression and risk of death...,” said lead researcher John Cleland, MD, in a press release. “Recognition and management of depression may reduce mortality for patients with [HF].”