Screen heart patients for depression, AHA says

By Kristen Bole

cover of the September 2008 issue of Circulation

The American Heart Association has called for routine screening for depression in patients with heart disease, citing a depression rate that is three times higher than in the general population.

In the Sept. 29 issue of “Circulation,” the AHA called upon nurses and physicians to conduct early and frequent screening of patients with heart disease for signs of depression and to conduct a coordinated follow-up for symptoms in patients with depressive symptoms.

A growing body of evidence has linked depression in cardiac patients to poorer outcomes in the first two years after a cardiac event, as well as long-term, according to Erika Froelicher, PhD, MPH, RN, a professor in the UCSF School of Nursing and Medicine who co-chaired the group of authors on the policy statement.

This was the first scientific statement the AHA has ever issued on cardiovascular disease and depression. For more information, please see the AHA press release and original statement, below.

Link to Press Release:

Link to Circulation Statement:

Link to Froelicher Profile: