Depression and Cadiovascular Disease

Healing the Broken Hearted

This study explored the relationship between major depressive disorder and cardiovascular disease. Depression has been documented in approximately 20 percent of outpatients with coronary heart disease (CHD) and one in three outpatients with congestive heart failure. The author presented a case study and reviewed several randomized trials to illustrate how treatment for depression could potentially improve cardiovascular health.

Key Findings:

  • Results of the reviewed randomized trials were unclear in regard to the role treatment for depression plays in improvement in cardiovascular health.
  • The author suggested screening instruments physicians could use to assess for depression with CHD patients.
  • Psychotherapy, medication therapy, or the use of both can be used to effectively treat depression. The decision of which mode of treatment to use will depend on resources and what the patient prefers.
  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) was highlighted as a type of psychotherapy in which safety and efficacy as a treatment for depression with CHD patients has been established.
  • The safety and efficacy of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in treatment of depression for patients with CHD has been supported.