US specialists call for heart patients to be screened for psychological distress

Heart patients should be screened for psychological distress and, if necessary, referred for help from mental health professionals, according to the authors of research published (Thursday 9 June) in Europe's leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal[1].

The recommendation is the result of findings from one of the world's largest population-based studies on psychological distress in heart disease patients. It has established that men and women with heart disease in the USA suffer from higher than normal levels of distress yet only a third have been seen by mental health professionals.

The research published in EHJ an official journal of the European Society of Cardiology is by Dr Amy Ferketich, Assistant Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Ohio State University School of Public Health in Columbus, USA and Dr Philip Binkley, Professor of Medicine at The Ohio State University Department of Internal Medicine and Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.

The researchers took data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) as their starting point. This survey conducted annually by the National Center for Health Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the primary source of information on health and illness in the USA and is representative of all US households.

They analysed data on 17,541 men and women over 40 in the survey who had self-reported different forms of heart disease, including coronary heart disease (CHD), myocardial infarction (MI) and congestive heart failure (CHF). A questionnaire called K6[2] assessed the presence and level of psychological distress to establish whether a higher proportion of the study group experienced distress compared with the estimated prevalence among the healthy population, and if so, whether having more than one cardiovascular condition added to the levels of distress. Of the total, 644 patients scored high enough to be c

Contact: Margaret Willson
European Society of Cardiology

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