Psychiatric and Psychological Interventions for Depression in Patients With Heart Disease: A Scoping Review

J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 Nov 17;9(22):e018686. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.120.018686. Epub 2020 Nov 7.


Depression in patients with cardiovascular disease is independently associated with progression of heart disease, major adverse cardiac events, and mortality. A wide variety of depression treatment strategies have been studied in randomized controlled trials as the field works to identify optimal depression treatments in this population. A contemporary scoping review of the literature can help to consolidate and synthesize the growing and disparate literature on depression treatment trials in people with cardiovascular disease. We conducted a scoping review utilizing a systematic search of the literature via 4 databases (PubMed, PsycINFO, EMBASE, and Google Scholar) from database inception to March 2020. We identified 42 relevant randomized controlled trials of depression treatment interventions in patients with cardiac disease (n=9181 patients with coronary artery disease, n=1981 patients with heart failure). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors appear to be safe in patients with cardiac disease and to have beneficial effects on depression (and some suggestion of cardiac benefit) in patients with coronary artery disease, with less evidence of their efficacy in heart failure. In contrast, psychotherapy appears to be effective for depression in coronary artery disease and heart failure, but with less evidence of cardiac benefit. Newer multimodal depression care management approaches that utilize flexible approaches to patients' care have been less studied but appear promising across cardiac patient groups. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may be preferred in the treatment of patients with coronary artery disease, psychotherapy may be preferred in heart failure, and more flexible depression care management approaches have shown promise by potentially using both approaches based on patient needs.

Keywords: antidepressants; collaborative care; coronary artery disease; depression; heart failure; psychotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Heart Diseases / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Psychosocial Intervention
  • Psychotherapy
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors