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Additional cardiac testing vital for patients with anxiety and depression
Date:11/11/2010

This release is available in French.

Montreal, November 11, 2010 People affected by anxiety and depression should receive an additional cardiac test when undergoing diagnosis for potential heart problems, according to a new study from Concordia University, the Universit du Qubec Montral and the Montreal Heart Institute.

As part of this study, published in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention, a large sample of patients received a traditional electrocardiogram (ECG), where they were connected to electrodes as they exercised on a treadmill. Patients also received a more complex tomography imaging test, which required the injection of a radioactive dye into the bloodstream followed by a nuclear scan to assess whether blood flow to the heart was normal during exercise.

"An ECG is usually reliable for most people, but our study found that people with a history of cardiac illness and affected by anxiety or depression may be falling under the radar," says study co-author Simon Bacon, a professor in the Concordia Department of Exercise Science and a researcher at the Montreal Heart Institute. "Although it is a more costly test, undergoing an additional nuclear scan seems to be more effective at identifying heart disease."

The discovery is significant, because 20 percent of people with cardiac illness also suffer from anxiety or depression. "When prescribing and performing cardiac tests, doctors should be aware of the psychological status of their patients, since it may affect the accuracy of ECG test alone," warns senior researcher Kim Lavoie, a psychology professor at the Universit du Qubec Montral and a researcher at the Montreal Heart Institute.

"ECG tests are not detecting as many heart problems as nuclear tests among many of these patients, particularly those that are depressed, and physicians
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Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
s-j.desjardins@concordia.ca
514-848-2424 x5068
Concordia University
Source:Eurekalert

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