An Insidious Comorbidity: Depression and Chronic Heart Failure

Antoniu Octavian PETRIŞ


Depression and heart failure (HF) are in a close two-way relationship: the appearance of one is potentiated by the other entity and the effects on the outcome are amplified within this ”dangerous liaison”. Depression is present in about one in five HF patients and is severe in almost half of them. The risk factors for depression in HF are female gender, elderly, the severity of HF symptoms, a history of isolated systolic hypertension or coronary heart disease (CHD), previous hospitalization and previous depressive episodes. Depression in HF patients increases medication non-adherence, is associated with poor outcomes after heart transplantation and is predictive of events and mortality in cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). The current assumptions related to the physiopathological mechanisms include a common genetic polymorphism, inflammation, generalized immune system disturbance, disturbances of platelet function, increased catecholamine levels, deamination of monoamines linked with monoamine oxidase activity, a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system, increased serotonin levels, ischemia, life-style and medication non-compliance, a poor familial support and social isolation. Assessment of cognitive functioning should be part of routine clinical examination in HF, the diagnosis of depression is based on questionnaires (e.g. Patient Health Questionnaire-2 - PHQ-2) and on clinical interview. There is still no consensus on the best therapy for HF patients with depression (non-pharmacological and pharmacological therapies) but, for sure, depression in HF is harder to treat.



heart failure, depression, comorbidity, cognitive-behavioral

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