Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Depression Care in Hospital Helps Cardiac Patients

By Crystal Phend, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today

A collaborative program to manage depression among heart patients before hospital discharge appears to ease both mood and cardiac symptoms, researchers found.

A prospective, randomized trial also found that the program improved self-reported adherence to medication and advice on diet, exercise, and stress reduction six months later, Jeff C. Huffman, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues, reported in the March issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Such programs have proven successful before, but were only conducted among patients after discharge, the group noted.

Their program showed the feasibility of screening for depression and starting treatment during a "teachable moment" while patients were still in the cardiac unit, Huffman and colleagues explained.

Thus "these results may represent a substantial first step in the systematic treatment of depression in hospitalized cardiac patients, a population for whom depression is independently associated with cardiac morbidity and mortality, and effective therapy remains greatly underrealized," they wrote.

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