Depression, Healthcare Services and Heart Attacks - What's the Connection?

    New data points to psychosocial factors impacting how often cardiac
    patients seek further care

    TORONTO, Oct. 21 /CNW/ - Depression symptoms are associated with
significantly higher use of healthcare services following a heart attack,
according to a new study released today by the Centre for Addiction and Mental
Health (CAMH). With approximately 70,000 Canadians experiencing a heart attack
each year, this new data may help thousands of people get the care they need
and reduce hospital visits.
    "While we know that the use of health services is higher for people with
depression symptoms, and depression is common for people who have had a heart
attack, this is one of the first studies to quantify the relationship between
depression symptoms, cardiac illness severity and their effect on health
service consumption," explains Dr. Paul Kurdyak, head of CAMH's Centralized
Assessment, Triage and Support research program and principal investigator for
this research.
    Data from almost 2000 heart attack patients showed that depression
symptoms alone resulted in an increase in health service consumption with a:

    -   Nine per cent increase in heart-related hospitalizations,
    -   24 per cent increase in total re-hospitalization days, and
    -   43 per cent increase in non-heart related hospitalizations visits
        following discharge after a heart attack.

    Surprisingly, the data also showed that depression caused the greatest
increase in health service use in those patients with lower cardiac illness
severity, and therefore, the least need for those services. "What we're seeing
is people who are clearly in distress seeking help from our healthcare system,
but it may not include the right kind of help to address their distress," says
Dr. Kurdyak.
    While there are well-established and effective chronic cardiac care and
depression intervention programs, "this data supports the need for integrating
depression screening and case-management into existing cardiac care," says Dr.
Kurdyak. "Integrated depression care for people who have had a heart attack
can improve their quality of life and may reduce the apparent mismatch between
need and service use."

    The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest
mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's
leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health. CAMH
combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health
promotion to transform the lives of people affected by mental health and
addiction issues.
    CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan
American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.

For further information:

For further information: To arrange interviews please contact Michael
Torres, Media Relations, CAMH at (416) 595-6015

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CAMH Foundation

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