New Hope for the Sad Heart: SADHART Clinical Trial Presents Evidence of How Treatment Can Improve Depression and Morbidity in Heart Failure

    Study demonstrates new SSRI drug Sertraline which interacts favorably in
    patients suffering from depression and heart failure

    TORONTO, Sept. 22 /CNW/ -- "Safety and Efficacy of Sertraline for
Depression in Patients with CHF: SADHART-CHF Trial," a clinical trial in heart
failure, was presented today by Dr. Christopher O'Connor (Professor of
Medicine and Director, Duke Heart Center, Duke University) in the Late
Breaking Clinical Trial session at the 12th Annual Scientific Meeting of the
Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA). This clinical trial highlighted the
results of treating patients who suffer from heart failure and depression with
the drug Sertraline, which is a selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
anti-depressant with psycho-supportive therapy.  It was used to evaluate the
effectiveness in improving mood disorders, and the results also showed a
decrease in mortality with heart failure patients.
    "For years, the only anti-depressive treatments were in the form of
tricyclics, which were associated with instances of sudden death and
arrhythmias in patients being treated for both chronic heart failure and mood
disorders," said Dr. Barry Greenberg, HFSA President, and Professor of
Medicine, and Director, Advanced Heart Failure Treatment Program, University
of California, San Diego. "Finding a safe and effective means to treat
depression and lower the fatality rates in heart failure patients would mark a
major advancement for the medical community, and bring relief and a renewed
hope for cardiology patients."
    Dr. O'Connor explained that the trial was designed to test the hypothesis
that heart failure patients treated with Sertraline plus psycho-supportive
therapy will have an improvement in symptoms of depression and a lower rate of
mortality and cardiovascular events as compared to psycho-supportive therapy
alone.  This larger trial was in response to a similar trial which had showed
promising results that Sertraline not only proved to be safe and effective,
but tended to reduce morbidity and mortality and improve depression in heart
failure patients. This larger trial SADHART was a randomized, double-blind,
placebo-controlled study that investigated the use of Sertraline as an
effective way to treat patients who presented as having a major depressive
disorder (MDD) and a diagnosis of heart failure. The trial, sponsored by the
National Institute of Mental Health, studied a population of 500 men and women
45 years of age or older who were randomized to Sertraline or placebo group
for a 12-week acute treatment phase.  All patients were followed for six
months.  Quality of life and physiologic parameters, as well as
pro-inflammatory and HF biomarkers were also obtained.
    "Sertraline has a very favorable pharmacological profile, in terms of
adverse reactions with other drugs, which is crucial because heart failure
patients often take up to 12 different medications. Our study aims to test
whether depression, which has been an ongoing topic of research since the
1920s, can be greatly reduced through the use of SSRI's like Sertraline or by
psycho-supportive therapy," said Dr. O'Connor, who added that patients with
heart failure and depression are twice as likely to die from cardiac
complications than patients who suffer from heart failure. "We hope that this
presentation demonstrates the importance of identifying and treating
depression in heart failure patients must continually be examined. We hope to
soon conduct similar trials to SADHART, but with a long-term period of
follow-up in similar study populations."
    For a complete list of annual meeting sessions or for details on
attending the conference, call (617) 226-7198 or visit and click
on Annual Scientific Meeting. There is no registration fee for accredited
journalists. Interview areas will be available on-site in addition to a
fully-staffed press room with phone and internet accessibility.
    About Heart Failure
    Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart muscle
becomes weakened after it is injured from heart attack or high blood pressure
and gradually loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body's
needs. Many people are not aware they have heart failure because the symptoms
are often mistaken for signs of getting older. Heart failure affects from 4.6
to 4.8 million individuals in the United States. Demographic and clinical
evidence strongly suggest the prevalence of heart failure will increase
throughout the next decade. Ten to 15 years ago heart failure was considered a
"death sentence;" however, recent advances in treatment have shown that early
diagnosis and proper care in early stages of the condition are key to slowing,
stopping or in some cases reversing progression, improving quality of life,
and extending life expectancy. For more information on heart failure, please
    About the Heart Failure Society of America
    The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) is a nonprofit educational
organization, founded in 1994 as the first organized association of heart
failure experts. Today HFSA has over 1,700 members and provides a forum for
all those interested in heart function, heart failure research and patient
care. The Society also serves as a resource for governmental agencies (FDA,
NIH, NHLBI, CMS). The HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting is designed to highlight
recent advances in the development of strategies to address the complex
epidemiological, clinical and therapeutic issues of heart failure. Additional
information on HFSA can be found at

For further information:

For further information: Kaitlyn Siner, +1-617-226-7192, cell,
+1-401-339-0954,, or Ben Hendricks,
+1-617-226-7183, cell, +1-919-522-2978,, both
for Heart Failure Society of America Web Site:       

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