After researchers identified a 'depression' pattern in post-bypass patients, a new American study now suggests that treatment for depression after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) improves the quality of life.
Although bypass surgery is beneficial to many patients, quite a few show symptoms of depression post-surgery. These patients have poor quality of life, suffer from constant chest pains and are more likely to be re-admitted to the hospital and die. In "Bypassing the Blues", the research team from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine tried to study the effect of a collaborative care strategy for the treatment of depression after a severe cardiac event.
The lead investigator of the research, Bruce Rollman, associate professor of medicine and psychiatry, Center for Research on Health Care, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine said: "Dozens of studies have described a link between depression and heart disease, and the most recent science advisory from the American Heart Association recommends screening patients with heart disease for depression.
"However, few depression treatment trials have involved cardiac patients and none used the collaborative care model or examined the impact of treating post-CABG depression on quality of life, re-hospitalizations or health care costs, as we did."
Researchers examined 453 post-CABG patients from 2004 to 2007. These included 302 depressed patients who were randomly given either an eight-month course of telephone-delivered collaborative care or were assigned to their doctors' usual care for depression. An additional 151 non-depressed, post-CABG patients were also assessed for comparisons to depressed patients. The patients were analysed on their quality of life, physical functioning, mood symptoms, re-hospitalizations, health care costs and deaths.
The study found that intervention patients showed better mental health-related quality of life, physical functioning and mood symptoms.
Dr Rollman said: "Men with depression were particularly likely to benefit from the intervention. However, the mean health-related quality of life and physical functioning of intervention patients did not reach that of the non-depressed comparison group."
The findings of the study will appear in the Nov 18 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).