Friday, March 28, 2014

Heart Association Panel Says Depression Should Be Listed as Major Cardiac Risk

This week in the journal Circulation, a scientific statement was issued by an American Heart Association (AHA) panel in response to a systemic literature review, which could lead to depression being considered as a major risk factor in heart disease among adults. The panel reviewed 53 studies—with more than 100 patients each—that indicated an association between depression and coronary artery disease.

After evaluating studies, the panel issued the following statement: “….[Despite] heterogeneity in the published findings….the preponderance of evidence supports the recommendation that the AHA should elevate depression to the status of a risk factor for adverse medical outcomes in patients with acute coronary syndrome.”

Former APA President Carolyn Robinowitz, M.D., commented to Psychiatric News that the relationship between depression and heart disease has been of particular interest to APA since her presidency in 2007-2008. “The AHA report sets the stage for a broad array of research questions related to the role of depression in cardiovascular illness. Psychiatrists have well been aware of the impact of depression on cardiovascular disorders, and we must continue to work to educate our medical colleagues—outside of mental health care—on this relationship by encouraging screening for depression in the general medical and cardiovascular settings. We very much appreciate the careful analyses of the American Heart Association and APA member Lawson Wulsin, M.D., [a member of the AHA's panel of experts], in addressing this important issue.”

To read more about depression and heart disease, see Psychiatric News articles, "Building a Bridge Between Cardiology, Psychiatry," and "Red Blood Cell Size Linked to Depression in Heart-Disease Patients."

(Image courtesy of AHA)


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