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Depression Linked To Increased Mortality Rate In Heart Failure Patients

Depression Heart Disease

A recently published study conducted by researchers at the Heart Failure Association (HFA) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) has found a link between depression and an increased rate of mortality as a result of heart failure.

The researchers, who followed a group of patients who had been hospitalized for heart failure over the course of a year in order to find a connection between mortality and depression, presented the study’s findings in a white paper which indicates that heart failure patients suffering from depression are five times more likely to die within a year of being discharged from hospital.  Patients who were not depressed had an 80% lower risk of mortality.

The aforementioned paper, titled Heart Failure: Preventing Disease and Death Worldwide, by OPERA-HF Professor John Cleland et al, states:

Patients with heart failure are at high risk of current hospital admissions and death. Approximately 25% of patients admitted to hospital with heart failure are readmitted for a variety of reasons within one month. Within one year, most patients will have had one or more readmissions and almost half will have died.

Based on these findings, OPERA-HF was created to investigate the reasons behind the readmission and death of heart failure patients, which the paper attributes to “social, mental and physical frailty, as well as comorbidities and the severity of heart failure.” The meeting cleared up the incorrect assumption that the high mortality rate was attributed to depressed patients having “more severe heart failure and more comorbidity.”

Depression was found to be very common in heart failure patients affecting 20 to 40 percent of them. Still, studies suggest prescribing antidepressants is not the most effective way to reduce depression when it comes to heart failure patients. Instead, researchers advise patients be referred to counseling in place of medical treatment.

Julie Ward, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, was quoted by The Independent as having said that it’s “estimated that a fifth of people with longer term conditions have depression which can have a devastating impact” on their health as well as their quality of life.”

We do know that your heart health and mental health are closely connected. Depression is both a risk factor for heart disease and is often experienced by people who have had a major heart event. It’s estimated that a fifth of people with long term conditions have depression which can have a devastating impact on health and quality of life. Every person with a long term physical health condition, like heart disease, should be treated for both their physical and psychological symptoms equally

The study’s results were presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s conference, Heart Failure 2015, which is scheduled to run through May 26, 2015. The conference is being held in Seville, Spain.

An unrelated study found that treating depression with antidepressants could reduce heart disease risk in patients suffering from moderate to severe depression.

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