Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Why depressed people are at the back of the queue for heart-attack care

Depression is known to increase peoples' risk of developing heart disease and lead to worse outcomes for those who develop cardiovascular problems. Now a new study by researchers from the Institute of Clinical Evaluation Sciences in Canada has found that people with depression who go to hospital emergency departments with the symptoms of a heart attack are less likely to receive priority treatment. The researchers' study looked at 6,874 patients admitted to 96 acute-care hospitals in Ontario from April 2004 to March 2005. 39% of the patients with depression were given a low-priority triage score compared to only 32.7% of the other patients with similar symptoms. Less than 10% of patients who come to emergency rooms with heart-attack symptoms such as chest pains or shortness of breath are actually found to be suffering from heart problems and the researchers think that medical staff might be more inclined to assign these symptoms to psychological causes in people who have suffered, or are suffering from, depression.

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