Monday, February 10, 2014

Collaborative Care Cuts Risk of Cardiovascular Events in Depressed Patients

An impressive new benefit of collaborative care for depression has been identified. It can slash the risk of fatal and nonfatal heart attacks and strokes in older individuals without preexisting heart disease.

The study was headed by Jesse Stewart, Ph.D., of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The results appear in Psychosomatic Medicine.

Back in 2002, Jürgen Unützer, M.D., a professor and vice chair of psychiatry at the University of Washington, and colleagues found that collaborative care for depression in individuals aged 60 or older was superior to usual primary care for it. Stewart and his group followed up, for eight years, 235 Indiana residents who had participated in the IMPACT trial to see whether collaborative care for depression could reduce the subsequent risk of heart attacks and strokes. Stewart and his team found that it did not reduce risk in individuals who had preexisting cardiovascular disease, but that it did reduce risk--by 48%--in individuals without preexisting cardiovascular disease.

"We have known for a long time that depression is associated with an increased risk of heart disease," Unützer said in an interview. "This eight-year follow-up of participants in the IMPACT study suggests that effective collaborative care for depression cut in half the risk of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events in those without preexisting heart disease. It further strengthens the argument for evidence-based collaborative care programs like IMPACT that have been shown to improve patient and provider satisfaction and mental and physical health outcomes."

More information about collaborative care and its benefits can be found in the Psychiatric News articles "Collaborative Care: an Integral Part of Psychiatry's Future" and "Three Decades of Working in Integrated Care."

(Image: stam_photo/


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