Experts offer guidance on navigating relationship between CVD, psychological disorders

A new review in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology analyzed the intersection of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mental health disorders, highlighting the bidirectional interplay between conditions while offering alternative treatment strategies and warning against adverse drug interactions.

“Psychological factors may be common in certain CV diseases (CVDs) and portend worse outcomes, or psychological conditions may pre-exist and precede CVD,” wrote Ileana L. Pina, MD, MPH, with Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and colleagues. “Furthermore, treatment for mental health disorders can present CV risk due to side effects of the drugs or interactions with other medications.”

The authors noted it is a clinician’s job to detect psychological disorders in patients with CVD and be careful to choose therapies—whether lifestyle-based or pharmacological—that address the mental health issue without exacerbating the CVD. It is also important to recognize when a person may need referral to a mental health specialist.

Although they didn’t provide a comprehensive list of conditions or medications, Pina et al. shared some of the most common mental health disorders that are connected to CVD and offered insights on which therapies may be effective (or dangerous) in those patients. The psychological conditions they reviewed included depression, anxiety, stress (acute and chronic), anger and personality types (Type A and Type D).

“With the increasing population of older adults with CVD entering our clinics with a preponderance of comorbidities added to psychological disorders, it is our hope that this review will inform therapy for the most vulnerable,” Pina and coauthors wrote.

Read the full paper below: