Psychocardiology- Combining the treatment of depression and heart disease

The link between clinical depression, stress and heart disease is well established. The rate of depression among people with heart disease can be as high as 50 percent–and its impact is significant on the body’s ability to heal and a patient’s likelihood of adhering to a treatment plan or changing unhealthy behaviors.  

Unfortunately, the depression of many heart disease patients is not identified or addressed.

In a presentation before a joint congress of the World Psychiatric Association and International Neuropsychiatric Association, held in Athens, Greece, Loyola University’s Dr. Angelos Halaris proposed creating a new subspecialty that he has termed “Psychocardiology.” 

Halaris is the medical director of Adult Psychiatry and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

This, he argued, would be an effective way of diagnosing and treating patients who are experiencing co-morbid depression and heart disease by bringing together the two disciplines of cardiology and psychiatry.

“It is only through the cohesive interaction of such multidisciplinary teams that we can succeed in unravelling the complex relationships among mental stress, inflammation, immune responses and depression, cardiovascular disease and stroke,” Halaris said.

Learn more about Polaris CV, a computer-based system that supports cardiologists in the detection and monitoring of depression and anxiety among their patients. Polaris-CV was designed based on the findings of an NIH-funded study in which 1,000 patients with cardiovascular disease were assessed for depression and monitored for two years. Polaris has used these data to provide our cardiac outcomes solution with numerous innovative features, most notably the prediction of risk for hospitalization.