Exercise Linked to Less Depression in Heart Failure

Lower depression scores at three and 12 months for patients randomized to exercise training

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with heart failure, exercise training is associated with a modest reduction in depression symptoms, according to a study published in the Aug. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

James A. Blumenthal, Ph.D., from Duke University in Durham, N.C., and colleagues conducted a multicenter trial in which 2,322 stable patients treated for heart failure were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive supervised aerobic exercise (goal of 90 min/week for months one to three followed by home exercise with a goal of ≥120 min/week for months four to 12) or education and usual guideline-based heart failure care. Patients completed the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II).

The researchers found that, over a median of 30 months of follow-up, 68 percent of patients in the usual-care group died or were hospitalized, compared with 66 percent in the aerobic-exercise group (hazard ratio [HR], 0.89; P = 0.03). At study entry the median BDI-II score was 8, with 28 percent having BDI-II scores of 14 or higher (clinically significant). Significantly lower mean BDI-II scores were seen in the aerobic-exercise group compared with the usual-care group at three months (8.95 versus 9.70; difference P = 0.002) and 12 months (8.86 versus 9.54; difference P = 0.01).

"Compared with guideline-based usual care, exercise training resulted in a modest reduction in depressive symptoms, although the clinical significance of this improvement is unknown," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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