Cognitive Behavioral Therapy May Reduce Heart Disease

Intervention programs decrease risk of recurrent MI and cardiovascular disease

FRIDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may decrease the risk of recurrent acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in the Jan. 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Mats Gulliksson, M.D., Ph.D., from the Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden, and colleagues examined 362 patients aged 75 years or younger who were discharged from the hospital after suffering a coronary heart disease event. Patients were randomly assigned to receive traditional care alone (170 patients) or in combination with a CBT intervention program (192 patients). Intervention consisted of 20 two-hour sessions during the course of one year, focusing on stress management. Patients were followed up for an average of 94 months.

The investigators found that patients in the CBT intervention group had a 41 percent lower rate of fatal and nonfatal first recurrent cardiovascular disease events, and 45 percent fewer recurrent AMIs compared with patients receiving traditional care. Patients who participated in CBT intervention also had a small but insignificant reduction in all-cause mortality (P = 0.28) compared to patients who received traditional care. There was a strong dose-response effect between attendance at the CBT intervention program and outcome.

"This demonstrates the potential efficacy of adding CBT to secondary preventive programs after AMI for better patient adherence to treatment and better outcome," the authors write.

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