ialysis patients whose mental health deteriorates over time have an increased risk of developing heart problems and dying prematurely, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN). Additional research should investigate whether caring for kidney disease patients’ mental health may help prevent heart complications and even death.
Research indicates that poor mental health can affect heart health. Because heart disease is the leading cause of death in kidney disease patients, Ea Wha Kang, MD, PhD (Ilsan Hospital, in Gyeonggi-do, Korea), Mark Unruh, MD (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) and their colleagues looked to see how changes in dialysis patients’ mental health relate to their heart health and longevity.
The study included 1,846 dialysis patients who were enrolled in a clinical trial called the Hemodialysis Study. The investigators assessed patients’ mental health at the start of the study and each year for three years through surveys and questionnaires.
Patients who had lower mental health scores over time tended to die or be hospitalized for heart problems sooner than patients with steady or rising scores. Specifically, their survival time decreased by 5.8% and their time to first hospitalization due to heart problems decreased by 7.6%.
“Our results emphasize the link between mind and body in patients with chronic illness and underscore the importance of attention to mental health for preventing cardiac complications and even death in dialysis patients,” said Dr. Kang.
Study co-authors include Francis Pike, PhD, Sarah Ramer, MD, Khaled Abdel-Kader, MD, Larissa Myaskovsky, MD, and Mary Amanda Dew, PhD (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center).
Disclosures: The authors reported no financial disclosures.
The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.
Founded in 1966, and with more than 13,500 members, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) leads the fight against kidney disease by educating health professionals, sharing new knowledge, advancing research, and advocating the highest quality care for patients.
American Society of Nephrology