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J Clin Psychiatry. 2009 Dec;70(12):1667-73. doi: 10.4088/JCP.08m04609. Epub 2009 Jul 28.

Somatic versus cognitive symptoms of depression as predictors of all-cause mortality and health status in chronic heart failure.

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  • 1Department of Medical Psychology, TweeSteden Hospital, PO Box 90107, 5000 LA, Tilburg, the Netherlands.



Depression is a predictor of adverse health outcomes in chronic heart failure (CHF), but it is not known whether specific symptoms drive this relationship. We examined the impact of somatic/affective, cognitive/affective, and total depressive symptoms on all-cause mortality and health status in CHF.


Consecutive CHF outpatients (n = 366) completed the Beck Depression Inventory. The primary endpoint was all-cause mortality; the secondary endpoint was disease-specific health status, as measured by the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (n = 285) at inclusion and 1-year follow-up. The study was conducted between October 2003 and March 2007.


There were 68 (18.6%) deaths (mean +/- SD follow-up, 37.2 +/- 10.6 months). Patients high on somatic/affective depressive symptoms had a greater incidence of mortality compared to patients low on somatic/affective depressive symptoms (31% vs 15%; hazard ratio [HR] = 2.3; 95% CI, 1.38-3.69; P = .001). There was no significant difference in the incidence of mortality between patients high versus low on cognitive/affective depressive symptoms (23% vs 18%; HR = 1.4; 95% CI, 0.80-2.40; P = .25), but there was a significant difference between patients high versus low on total depressive symptoms (24% vs 16%; HR = 1.6; 95% CI, 1.01-2.63; P < .05). After adjusting for demographic and clinical characteristics, we found that somatic/affective depressive symptoms predicted all-cause mortality (HR = 1.8; 95% CI, 1.03-3.07; P = .04), while cognitive/affective and total depressive symptoms did not. Both dimensions of depressive symptoms predicted disease-specific health status at 1 year.


Only somatic/affective depressive symptoms significantly predicted all-cause mortality in CHF. In the context of diagnosing and intervening, awareness of subtypes of depressive symptoms is important.

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