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Link Between Depression and Cardiac Care

cardiacDepression symptoms are associated with significantly higher use of health care services following a heart attack, according to a new study.

Canadian researchers believe this new data may help thousands of people get the care they need and reduce hospital visits.

“While we know that the use of health services is higher for people with depression symptoms, and depression is common for people who have had a heart attack, this is one of the first studies to quantify the relationship between depression symptoms, cardiac illness severity and their effect on health service consumption,” explains Dr. Paul Kurdyak principal investigator for this research.

Data from almost 2000 heart attack patients showed that depression symptoms alone resulted in an increase in health service consumption with a:

  • Nine per cent increase in heart-related hospitalizations,
  • 24 per cent increase in total re-hospitalization days, and
  • 43 per cent increase in non-heart related hospitalizations visits following discharge after a heart attack.

Surprisingly, the data also showed that depression caused the greatest increase in health service use in those patients with lower cardiac illness severity, and therefore, the least need for those services.

“What we’re seeing is people who are clearly in distress seeking help from our healthcare system, but it may not include the right kind of help to address their distress,” says Dr. Kurdyak.

While there are well-established and effective chronic cardiac care and depression intervention programs, “this data supports the need for integrating depression screening and case-management into existing cardiac care,” says Dr. Kurdyak.

“Integrated depression care for people who have had a heart attack can improve their quality of life and may reduce the apparent mismatch between need and service use.”

Source: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Link Between Depression and Cardiac Care

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Link Between Depression and Cardiac Care. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.