11 November 2008

Depression Screening for Heart Patients NOT such a Good Idea

Contrary to the recommendation by the American Heart Association to routinely screen heart patients for depression, a review of 17 studies indicates there to be no benefit.

In [patients] who showed signs of depression, symptoms improved only slightly — by 1 to 4 percent — with antidepressant drug treatment.

"We cannot in good conscience support screening all heart patients," study co-author Roy Ziegelstein, vice chairman of medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, said in a statement. "This is a difficult call for us to make, but it is in the best interest of patients at this time" because of its cost, side effects of drug treatment and potentially negative effects of being misdiagnosed as depressed...

The AHA recommends that heart patients are screened for depressive symptoms with a two- or nine-question survey, then referred for a more detailed workup if they score high on those questions. Patients who are diagnosed with depression should be treated with medication, counseling, exercise, cardiac rehabilitation or a combination, according to the guidelines.

If I had heart disease and was subjected to depression screening, I'd be livid - once I stopped laughing.

Get a psychiatrist near me, spewing their pseudo-science, and there's no telling what I'd do. Of course, my normal reaction would likely get labelled as evidence of my suffering from one psychosis/neurosis or another.

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