(HealthDay News) — Almost one-quarter of patients with heart failure develop depression within 5 years compared with patients with cancer, according to a research letter published online in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Sven H. Loosen, MD, from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in Germany, and colleagues compared the incidence of depression and anxiety disorders among all adults with an initial diagnosis of heart failure, breast cancer, prostate cancer, or digestive organ cancer in Germany between January 2000 and December 2018.

The researchers found that 23.1% of heart failure patients had been diagnosed with depression within five years after the index date compared with 25.7, 22.1, and 15.0% of patients with breast cancer, cancer of the digestive organs, and prostate cancer, respectively. Compared with patients with cancer, heart failure patients had a significantly higher likelihood of developing depression within 5 years in multivariate regression models (hazard ratio, 1.20). The likelihood of depression was increased in male patients with heart failure versus those with prostate cancer (hazard ratio, 1.66); the increase was stable through all age groups. The likelihood of depression was also significantly higher in patients with heart failure versus those with gastrointestinal tumors (hazard ratio, 1.17). There was no statistically significant difference in the likelihood of developing depression for female patients with breast carcinoma versus heart failure.

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“Psychological support services for patients with cancer are relatively common,” a coauthor said in a statement. “However, more help is needed for those with heart failure — of whom almost one-quarter develop depression or anxiety after their diagnosis.”

Abstract/Full Text