Depression in heart failure a meta-analytic review of prevalence, intervention effects, and associations with clinical outcomes

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Oct 17;48(8):1527-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2006.06.055. Epub 2006 Sep 26.


This article describes a meta-analysis of published associations between depression and heart failure (HF) in regard to 3 questions: 1) What is the prevalence of depression among patients with HF? 2) What is the magnitude of the relationship between depression and clinical outcomes in the HF population? 3) What is the evidence for treatment effectiveness in reducing depression in HF patients? Key word searches of the Medline and PsycInfo databases, as well as reference searches in published HF and depression articles, identified 36 publications meeting our criteria. Clinically significant depression was present in 21.5% of HF patients, and varied by the use of questionnaires versus diagnostic interview (33.6% and 19.3%, respectively) and New York Heart Association-defined HF severity (11% in class I vs. 42% in class IV), among other factors. Combined results suggested higher rates of death and secondary events (risk ratio = 2.1, 95% confidence interval 1.7 to 2.6), trends toward increased health care use, and higher rates of hospitalization and emergency room visits among depressed patients. Treatment studies generally relied on small samples, but also suggested depression symptom reductions from a variety of interventions. In sum, clinically significant depression is present in at least 1 in 5 patients with HF; however, depression rates can be much higher among patients screened with questionnaires or with more advanced HF. The relationship between depression and poorer HF outcomes is consistent and strong across multiple end points. These findings reinforce the importance of psychosocial research in HF populations and identify a number of areas for future study.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Output, Low / epidemiology
  • Cardiac Output, Low / mortality
  • Cardiac Output, Low / psychology*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Depression / therapy
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Prevalence
  • Treatment Outcome