Panel: Depression should be listed as risk factor for heart disease

After an extensive review of studies that examined the link between depression and heart disease, the American Heart Association is recommending that depression be included on the list of risk factors for cardiac events. The scientific statement, written by a panel of experts, was published in the journal Circulation.

Two of the panel members, Robert M. Carney, PhD, and Kenneth E. Freedland, PhD, noted that while the research indicates that a failure to treat depression has a negative impact on health and quality of life, further investigation is needed on whether treating depression will improve heart health and survival rates.

Carney and Freedland, both professors of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, are launching a clinical trial to evaluate a different treatment approach that seeks to relieve depression and lower the risk of heart disease.