A recent study links depression to a higher likelihood of death in patients diagnosed with heart failure. The study, presented at the Heart Failure 2015 Conference by the Heart Failure Association (HFA) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), looked into several factors that lead heart failure patients to be readmitted to the hospital.
The research team, headed by Prof. John Cleland of Imperial College London and the University of Hull in the UK, used the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS-D) to assess the level of depression in 154 patients, the data of which were cross-referenced with the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) to evaluate comorbidity. Results showed that patients with moderate to severe depression were exposed to a higher mortality risk of up to five times those who were not depressed.
The researchers attribute this to the chain of biological events caused by depression. “Depression is often related to loss of motivation, loss of interest in everyday activities, lower quality of life, loss of confidence, sleep disturbances and change in appetite with corresponding weight change. This could explain the association we found between depression and mortality,” according to Cleland in a news item.
The results of the study, however, do not indicate the urgency to prescribe antidepressant medication to patients with heart failure. “More research is needed to find out what clinicians and patients themselves can do to manage depression. Better treatments for heart failure, comorbidities as well as depression itself may be required,” Cleland added.