The Melbourne depression in heart failure collaborative - medication trial

Years funded:

In patients with chronic heart failure (CHF), depression is common, more severe, and doesn’t improve as easily as it can in other groups of patients with poor heart health. Unfortunately at the present time, depression is rarely even screened for, let alone treated in patients with CHF. Many patients have a milder form of depression that is debilitating, yet not considered a depressive illness, and often not treated. For people who experience minor depression, the experience and consequences are often anything but ‘minor’.

Data demonstrate that depression is a major marker of declining future health, including death, in CHF patients. However no studies have demonstrated that the depression in these patients can be improved, let alone whether an improvement in depression might improve the clinical status of the heart failure patient. David’s randomised controlled trial will test the concept that both minor and major depression can be improved in CHF patients by using antidepressant medication. The study will also examine whether, by reducing depression, other known medical risk factors (related to both depression and CHF) can be improved. The outcomes of this study may increase our understanding of the link between depression and poor heart health, and may indicate whether treating depression can indeed reduce hospitalisation and death due to cardiac complications.