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Screen heart patients for depression, AHA urges

Rating

4 Star

Screen heart patients for depression, AHA urges

Our Review Summary

It has been well documented that survivors of a heart attack or patients who have undergone treatment for heart disease are much more likely to experience symptoms of depression. In the past few years, research has also shown that a co-occurence of depression along with heart disease can lead to worse outcomes and reduced quality of life. Recognizing the connection, the American Heart Association has released new guidelines calling for increased screening for depression in heart patients. Whether or not intervention in screened individuals will lead to better heart outcomes is not known, but certainly identifying and treating undiagnosed cases is a positive step.

This relatively short story does a good job of on most of our criteria. 

However, the story does not mention any possible downsides of depression screening. While there are few risks, some of the harms could include: missing cases of mild depression, stigma, mislabeling situational stress as an illness, not to mention barriers and difficulties involved in getting the appropriate follow-up care once diagnosed.  And it didn’t cost issues, or reimbursement as a barrier to effective screening.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story didn’t describe the costs of depression screening nor did it mention reimbursement issues as a barrier to providing the screening.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not attempt to quantify the benefits of depression screening.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not mention any possible downsides of depression screening. While there are few risks, some of the harms could include: missing cases of mild depression, stigma, mislabeling situational stress as an illness, not to mention barriers and difficulties involved in getting the appropriate follow-up care once diagnosed.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Satisfactory

The story does mention that there is no direct evidence that screening for depression can improve outcomes. The story could have done more to describe the indirect evidence that support its use in heart patients.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

The story does not exaggerate the seriousness or prevalence of depression. The story rightly points out that depression is more prevalent in people with heart disease.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

The story mentions antidepressants, psychotherapy and excercise as possible treatments for depression.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

Clearly depression screening is available but not as widely used as it should be in the context of heart disease patients.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

Clearly depression screening is not new but it is increasingly being advocated in the context of heart patients.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Satisfactory

Because the story quotes multiple experts, the reader can assume the story did not rely on a press release as the sole source of information.

Total Score: 7 of 10 Satisfactory

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