Heart failure (HF) is an important public health problem that affects approximately 6.6 million Americans. Despite improvements in cardiac care, it remains the leading cause for hospitalization among Medicare patients and the only major cardiovascular disease whose mortality rate has remained essentially unchanged over the past decade. This failure to improve HF outcomes may be due, in part, to unrecognized and/or inadequately treated depression that is highly prevalent in HF patients. Yet while new HF treatment guidelines advocate routine screening for depression, this recommendation is unlikely to be widely adopted without trial evidence that depression care improves outcomes and efficient methods to provide it. "Collaborative care" strategies are being increasingly utilized t improve care for HF and other chronic medical conditions, and we recently demonstrated its clinical and cost-effectiveness at treating depression following coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Yet it may be impractical for health care delivery systems to support separate treatment programs for HF and depression. Thus we are encouraged by emerging evidence indicating "blended" collaborative care strategies that target both psychiatric and physical conditions produce greater improvements in mood symptoms and control of cardiovascular risk factors than programs focused solely on depression to propose testing a novel adaptation that could be provided in routine care.
The Specific Aims of this Project are to: (1) evaluate the effectiveness of a telephone-delivered "blended" collaborative care intervention for treating HF and depression that could be adopted into routine clinical practice if proven effective;and (2) advance our understanding of the moderators and mediators of depression treatment on clinical outcomes. We will screen hospitalized patients with systolic HF for depression, and then randomize 625 who screen positive and have at least a moderately elevated level of depressive symptoms at two-weeks following hospital discharge to either: (1) collaborative care for treating both HF and depression ("blended");(2) collaborative care for treating HF alone (enhanced usual care (eUC));or (3) their doctors'"usual care" (UC). Additionally, we will enroll 125 non-depressed HF patients to better evaluate the benefits derived from treating depression (total N=750). Our co-primary hypotheses will test whether "blended" collaborative care can produce at 12-months follow-up a: (A) 0.50 effect size (ES) or greater improvement in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) vs. UC;and (B) 0.30 ES or greater improvement in HRQoL vs. eUC. Secondary hypotheses will evaluate the effects of our "blended" intervention on mood, functional status, adherence with guideline-consistent care, incidence of cardiovascular events, health care utilization, and costs. Improving chronic illness care for medically complex patients is one of the major challenges facing medicine today. We propose to test the effectiveness of an innovative, efficient, scalable, and sustainable intervention that could transform the way HF and other cardiovascular disorders are treated in routine practice.

Public Health Relevance

Depression is highly prevalent among patients with heart failure (HF) and associated with lower levels of health-related quality of life and physical functioning, and higher risk of rehospitalization and mortality, and higher health costs. This Project will compare the effectiveness of a blended telephone-delivered collaborative care intervention for treating both HF and depression to: (1) collaborative care for heart failure- alon (enhanced usual care;eUC);and (2) doctors'usual care for depression (UC). If proven effective and cost-effective, the potentially more powerful, scalable, efficient blended care approach for treating HF and co- morbid depression could have profound implications for improving chronic illness care and stimulate development of blended interventions for treating other clusters of related medical conditions.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Project (R01)
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Health Services Organization and Delivery Study Section (HSOD)
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Czajkowski, Susan
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University of Pittsburgh
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Stewart, Jesse C; Rollman, Bruce L (2014) Optimizing approaches to addressing depression in cardiac patients: a comment on O'Neil et al. Ann Behav Med 48:142-4
Rollman, Bruce L; Huffman, Jeff C (2013) Treating anxiety in the presence of medical comorbidity: calmly moving forward. Psychosom Med 75:710-2