Psychological distress and cardiovascular disease

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Objective: To review the current literature regarding psychological distress in patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). Methods: Relevant and current (2005-2015) studies were retrieved by a series of searches conducted in the PubMed and PsychINFO databases using Boolean terms/phrases along with manual extraction from the reference lists of pertinent studies. Narrative and tabular summaries of the findings are reported. Results: There is a vast literature on psychological distress and CVD. Depression is the most common disorder studied followed by anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder. Physiologic mechanisms linking psychological distress to CVD are well theorized. Screening for psychological distress in CVD is recommended. Referral and treatment issues need further exploration. Pharmacologic treatment of psychological distress in CVD remains equivocal; however, promising data exists for other therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy and social support strategies. Conclusion: Psychological distress has a significant negative impact on patients with CVD and is underrecognized by health care providers. Primary care providers and cardiovascular specialty providers are called upon to improve their recognition of psychological distress in their patients and assure referrals are made to collaborative care teams for proper diagnosis and treatment.




McGuire, A. W., Ahearn, E., & Doering, L. V. (2015, September 1). Psychological distress and cardiovascular disease. Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management. Turner White Communications Inc.

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