Depression, antidepressants, and long-term mortality in heart failure

Crisanto Diez-Quevedo, Josep Lupón, Beatriz González, Agustín Urrutia, Lucía Cano, Roser Cabanes, Salvador Altimir, Ramon Coll, Teresa Pascual, Marta De Antonio, Antoni Bayes-Genis

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50 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This study was designed to assess whether depression and the use of antidepressants were related to long-term mortality in heart failure. Methods: Heart failure outpatients (n = 1017) from a specialized tertiary unit in Spain were prospectively studied for a median follow-up of 5.4 years (IQR 3.1-8.1). Depressive symptoms were assessed using an abbreviated version of the geriatric depression scale. Survival rates during the study period (August 2001 until December 2010) and hazard ratios (HR) for mortality were adjusted by several demographic and clinical variables. Results: Depressive symptoms were detected in 302 patients (29.7%) at baseline and 222 (21.8%) de novo during follow-up; 304 patients (29.9%) received at least one prescription of antidepressants, mainly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (92.8%); 441 patients (43.4%) died. In a multivariate Cox proportional hazard model, depression was associated with an increased all-cause (HR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.15-1.68), but not cardiovascular, mortality risk after adjustment for several demographic and clinical confounders. The use of any antidepressant was not independently associated with mortality (HR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.71-1.13), but benzodiazepines showed a protective role (HR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.57-0.87). On the contrary, fluoxetine prescriptions, but not duration of fluoxetine treatment, were associated with increased mortality (HR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.13-2.44). Conclusions: Depressive symptoms are associated with long-term mortality, but the use of antidepressants and benzodiazepines is safe regarding survival in HF patients, although further research is needed considering individual antidepressants separately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1217-1225
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2013


  • Antidepressants
  • Depression
  • Heart failure
  • Mortality


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