Graham Beaton

In the February 2014 issue of the journal Circulation, The American Heart Association published a scientific statement indicating that depression is a risk factor for poor prognosis among patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) (any group of symptoms attributed to the obstruction of the coronary arteries).

To arrive at this conclusion, the American Heart Association’s Scientific Statement and Manuscript Oversight Committees conducted a scientific literature review on the effects of depression following diagnosis of ACS. Specifically, they looked to see if depression affected the rates of all cause mortality, cardiac mortality and other non fatal cardiac events in individuals with ACS.

The results of the literature review revealed that depression increased the risk of adverse outcomes in patients with ACS, suggesting that depression should be considered as a risk factor .that needs to be addressed. This is an important finding as approximately 20% of patients who are hospitalised with ACS meet the diagnostic criteria for suffering from major depression, and an even larger percentage of patients exhibit symptoms of depression. Thus, by screening people with ACS for depression, and providing additional care for those in need, the rates of cardiovascular mortality and subsequent non fatal cardiac events could be reduced, improving both the quality and length of life in people with ACS.

Graham Beaton is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Ottawa. If you are concerned about cardiovascular health, depression, how depression is affecting your cardiovascular risk, or have questions about Naturopathic Medicine, please call 613-290-6115.