New Perspectives on Treatment of Depression in Coronary Heart Disease

Robert M. Carney, Kenneth E. Freedland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has been 35 years since we published a study in Psychosomatic Medicine showing that patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) and major depression were at twice the risk of having a cardiac event as were nondepressed patients (Carney et al. Psychosom Med. 1988;50:627-33). This small study was followed a few years later by a larger, more convincing report from Frasure-Smith et al. (JAMA. 1993;270:1819-25) showing that depression increased the rate of mortality in patients with a recent acute myocardial infarction. Since the 1990s, there have been many more studies of depression as a risk factor for cardiac events and cardiac-related mortality from all over the world, and many clinical trials designed to determine whether treating depression improves medical outcomes in these patients. Unfortunately, the effects of depression treatment in patients with CHD remain unclear. This article considers why it has been difficult to determine whether treatment of depression improves survival in these patients. It also proposes several lines of research to address this question, with the goal of definitively establishing whether treating depression can extend cardiac event-free survival and enhance quality of life in patients with CHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-478
Number of pages5
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023


  • coronary heart disease
  • depression treatment
  • depressive disorder


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