Exploring potential associations of suicidal ideation and ideas of self-harm in patients with congestive heart failure

Nicole Lossnitzer, Thomas Müller-Tasch, Bernd Löwe, Christian Zugck, Manfred Nelles, Andrew Remppis, Markus Haass, Bernhard Rauch, Jana Jünger, Wolfgang Herzog, Beate Wild
Depression and Anxiety 2009, 26 (8): 764-8

OBJECTIVE: To determine the factors, which are associated with suicidal ideation and ideas of self-harm in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF).

METHODS: We examined 294 patients with documented CHF, New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class II-IV, in a cross sectional study at three cardiac outpatient departments. Measures included self-reports of suicidal ideation and self-harm (PHQ-9), depression (SCID), health-related quality of life (SF-36), multimorbidity (CIRS-G), consumption of alcoholic beverages, as well as comprehensive clinical status. Data were analyzed using logistic regression analyses.

RESULTS: 50 patients (17.1%) reported experiencing suicidal ideation and/or ideas of self-harm on at least several days over the past two weeks. The final regression model revealed significant associations with health-related quality of life, physical component (odds ratio [OR] 0.56; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.35-0.91), and mental component (OR 0.50; 95% CI: 0.31-0.82), consumption of alcoholic beverages (OR 1.27; 95% CI: 1.05-1.54), first-episode depression (OR 3.92; 95% CI: 1.16-13.22), and lifetime depression (OR 10.89; 95% CI: 2.49-47.72). Age was only significant in the univariable (P=.03) regression analysis. NYHA functional class, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), etiology of CHF, medication, cardiovascular interventions, multimorbidity, gender, and living situation were not significantly associated with suicidal ideation or ideas of self-harm.

CONCLUSIONS: Lifetime depression, in particular, increases the risk of suicidal ideation and ideas of self-harm in CHF patients. Furthermore, the findings of our study underline the necessity of differentiating between first-episode and lifetime depression in CHF-patients in future research and clinical practice.

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