Contacts to general practice and antidepressant treatment initiation after screening for anxiety and depression in patients with heart disease

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Anxiety and depression are found in 20-30% of all persons with heart disease, and depression is known to impact mortality. This paper aimed to describe the effect of systematic screening of this population in terms of use of general practice, psychological therapy and antidepressant treatment.
A population-based cohort study was conducted in 2011-2013 comprising 1,658 people with heart disease treated at a Danish regional hospital. Collected data were based on Danish national registers and patient questionnaires.
Patients with heart disease and anxiety or depressive symptoms had more general practitioner (GP) contact rates than patients without anxiety or depressive symptoms both before and after the screening. Furthermore, patients with depressive symptoms increased their GP contact rate significantly in the first month after the screening, while this was not the case for patients with anxiety symptoms. Finally, patients with heart disease and anxiety or depressive symptoms more frequently initiated treatment with antidepressants than patients with heart disease without anxiety or depressive symptoms, whereas therapy sessions with a psychologist were rarely used.
Heart patients with depressive symptoms may benefit from screening for depression, information about the screening result and a subsequent recommendation to consult their GP in case of signs of depression. However, the observed effect seems to be modest.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA5185
JournalDanish Medical Journal
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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