Heart disease is a major cause of hospitalization and is associated with greater impairment than arthritis, diabetes mellitus, or lung disease. Depression is prevalent and a serious co-morbidity in heart disease with negative consequences including higher levels of chronic physical illness, decreased psychological well-being, and increased health care costs. The objective of the study was to examine with meta-analysis the impact of community-based cardiac rehabilitation (CR) treatment on depression outcomes in older adults. Randomized controlled trials comparing patients (≥64 years old) receiving CR to cardiac controls were considered. Meta-analyses were based on 18 studies that met inclusion criteria, comprising 1,926 treatment participants and 1,901 controls. Effect sizes (ESs) ranged from -0.39 (in favor of control group) to 1.09 (in favor of treatment group). Mean weighted ES was 0.28, and 11 studies showed positive ESs. Meta-analysis suggests that most CR programs delivered in the home can significantly mitigate depression symptoms. Tailored interventions combined with psychosocial interventions are likely to be more effective in decreasing depression in older adults with heart disease than usual care.
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