Chronic Heart Failure patients reduced Depression with Aerobic Exercise

credit: National Cancer Institute PD

(Best Syndication News) - A study found that chronic heart failure patients who took part in an aerobic exercise routine showed a slight reduction in depression symptoms over a 12-month period compared to those who were given typical care. The study results were published in the August 1, 2012 issue of JAMA.

Heart failure affects around 5 million people in the United States. Every year, around half-a-million new cases of heart failure will be diagnosed. Depression is often found in as many as 40 percent of the heart failure patients. The worst clinical outcomes of heart failure are associated with those who have depression.

The study authors wanted investigated an association between depression symptoms of heart failure patients and aerobic exercise.

James A. Blumenthal, Ph.D., of Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C., and colleagues, had 2,322 stable heart failure patients participate in a randomized controlled trial at 82 medical clinical centers located in the United States, Canada, and France. The patients were assessed for depression using a Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) questionnaire.

The study occurred between April 2003 and February 2007 and patients were randomly assigned to either supervised aerobic exercise or to be educated and given typical heart failure care. The study lasted for 12 months. The participants who were to exercise started with a goal of 90 minutes per week for the first three months and then they were assigned the goal of 120 minutes or more per week at home for the rest of the study.

The reduction in depression symptoms was seen in the aerobic exercise group. At month 3, the average score for the BDI-II questionnaire was 8.95 for the aerobic exercise group compared to 9.70 for the typical care group. The lower the number on the BDI-II score means that there is less depression symptoms. Similarly, at month 12, the aerobic exercise group had an average score of 8.86, while the typical care group had a score of 9.54.

The researchers point out that patients who had elevated depressive symptoms were at over a 20 percent increase risk for all-cause mortality and hospitalizations. The higher risk was independent of antidepressant adherence, their age, or the severity of the heart failure.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

Ref: JAMA. 2012;308[5]:465-474

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