Depression Mental Health Research

Depression in heart patients linked to higher chances of mortality

Dr. Martha Mackay, CHÉOS scientist leading new pilot study to reduce depression in heart patients

Research has shown that depression can be harmful to the recovery and overall heart health for cardiac patients. Among this population, 1 in 5 patients are likely to experience depression.

The severity of depression’s impact on heart health is now listed alongside other risks such as smoking, obesity and diabetes.

To address this problem, Dr. Martha Mackay from the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences (CHÉOS) is now launching a new pilot study that aims to reduce depression in patients after a major heart event. The pilot study will test the effectiveness of an internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) in which patients complete online modules outlining cognitive-behavioural skills for depression, in conjunction with therapist support via email.

“Major depression in people hospitalized after a cardiac event is associated with worse outcomes, even death,” said Dr. Mackay, CHÉOS Scientist and Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Heart Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital. “Even when researchers control for exercise, medication adherence, and attendance at a cardiac rehabilitation program, the association is still strong.”

Previous research has shown that the combination of online modules and therapist interaction is as efficacious as traditional, face-to-face CBT.

“If successful, an electronic intervention of this sort will be very valuable because it will improve access to care for rural communities and spread scarce resources wider, which will allow better access to treatment for more people,” said Dr. Mackay.

Learn more about this pilot study and Dr. Martha Mackay’s research by reading the full article here.

Give us your comments and story ideas