Accuracy and Prognostic Value of American Heart Association–Recommended Depression Screening in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease: Data From the Heart and Soul Study

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Background—In 2008, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommended a 2-step screening method, consisting of the 2-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2) followed by the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), for identifying depression in cardiovascular patients. The accuracy and prognostic value of this screening method have not been evaluated.Methods and Results—We administered the 2-step AHA-recommended screening algorithm to 1024 patients with stable coronary heart disease and calculated sensitivity and specificity against a gold standard interview for major depressive disorder. Subsequent cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction, stroke, transient ischemic attack, heart failure, or death) were determined during a mean of 6.27±2.11 years of follow-up. The AHA-recommended screening method had high specificity (0.91; 95% confidence interval, 0.89 to 0.93) but low sensitivity (0.52; 95% confidence interval, 0.46 to 0.59) for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder. Participants who screened positive on the AHA depression protocol had a 55% greater risk of events than those who screened negative (age-adjusted hazard ratio, 1.55; 95% confidence interval, 1.21 to 1.97; P=0.0005). After adjustment for age, sex, body mass index, history of myocardial infarction, hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, and high-density lipoprotein levels, screening positive remained associated with a 41% greater rate of cardiovascular events (hazard ratio, 1.41; 95% confidence interval, 1.10 to 1.81; P=0.008).Conclusions—Among outpatients with stable coronary heart disease, the AHA-recommended depression screening protocol is highly specific for depression and identifies patients at risk for adverse cardiovascular outcomes.

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