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Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2014, Article ID 148256, 17 pages
Review Article

Assessing Depression in Cardiac Patients: What Measures Should Be Considered?

1Psychology Department, University of Bergamo, 24129 Bergamo, Italy
2Istituto Auxologico Italiano IRCCS, Ospedale San Giuseppe, 28922 Verbania, Italy
3Psychology Department, Catholic University of Milan, 20123 Milan, Italy

Received 31 July 2013; Revised 8 October 2013; Accepted 3 November 2013; Published 6 February 2014

Academic Editor: Harm W. J. van Marwijk

Copyright © 2014 M. Ceccarini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


It is highly recommended to promptly assess depression in heart disease patients as it represents a crucial risk factor which may result in premature deaths following acute cardiac events and a more severe psychopathology, even in cases of subsequent nonfatal cardiac events. Patients and professionals often underestimate or misjudge depressive symptomatology as cardiac symptoms; hence, quick, reliable, and early mood changes assessments are warranted. Failing to detect depressive signals may have detrimental effects on these patients’ wellbeing and full recovery. Choosing gold-standard depression investigations in cardiac patients that fit a hospitalised cardiac setting well is fundamental. This paper will examine eight well established tools following Italian and international guidelines on mood disorders diagnosis in cardiac patients: the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the Cognitive Behavioural Assessment Hospital Form (CBA-H), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the two and nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2, PHQ-9), the Depression Interview and Structured Hamilton (DISH), the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D/HRSD), and the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Though their strengths and weaknesses may appear to be homogeneous, the BDI-II and the PHQ are more efficient towards an early depression assessment within cardiac hospitalised patients.