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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(3):CD004394.

Psychological interventions for depression in adolescent and adult congenital heart disease.

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  • 1Haemostasis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Unit, University Department of Medicine, City Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham, UK, B18 7QH.



Adult and adolescent congenital heart disease is increasing in prevalence as better medical care means more children are surviving to adulthood. People with chromic disease often also experience depression. There are several non-pharmacological treatments that might be effective in treating depression and improving quality of life for adults and young adults with congenital heart disease. The aim of this review was to assess the effects of treatments such as psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapies and talking therapies for treating depression in this population.


To assess the effects (both harms and benefits) of psychological interventions for treating depression in young adults and adults with congenital heart disease.


We searched the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (CCTR) (on The Cochrane Library issue 4, 2002), MEDLINE (1966 to August 2002), EMBASE (1980 to August 2002), PsycLIT (1887 to August 2002), the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE) (Issue 4, 2002 of the Cochrane Library), Biological Abstracts (January 1980 to August 2002), and CINAHL (January 1980 to August 2002). Abstracts from national and international cardiology and psychology conferences and dissertation abstracts were also searched.


Randomised controlled trials comparing psychological interventions with no intervention for people over 15 years with depression who have congenital heart disease.


Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts of studies that were potentially relevant to the review. Studies that were clearly ineligible were rejected. Two reviewers independently assessed the abstracts or full papers for inclusion criteria. Further information was sought from the authors where papers contained insufficient information to make a decision about eligibility.


No randomised controlled trials were identified.


Depression is common in patients with congenital heart disease and can exacerbate the physical consequences of the illness. There are effective pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for depression, but we have not been able to identify any trials showing the effectiveness of non-pharmacological treatments. A well designed randomised controlled trial is needed to assess the effects of psychological interventions for depression in congenital heart disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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