The link between mental health and heart health is substantial. About 50% of hospitalized heart patients have some depressive symptoms, and up to 20% develop major depression. Patients who are depressed at the time of hospitalization for heart conditions are two to five times more likely than average to die or to suffer further cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, or severe chest pain in the following year.
Recognizing the importance of the mind-heart connection, UW Medicine psychiatrists have worked with providers at the UW Medicine Regional Heart Center for the past ten years to provide effective mental health care for patients. The Regional Heart Center is a specialty cardiology clinic that treats people with a wide variety of heart diseases (heart failure, congenital heart disease) and heart care needs (pre- and post-transplantation care, sequelae of defibrillator firing, smoking cessation, and end-stage heart failure palliative care).
Staffed by faculty, fellows, residents, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and a social worker, the Center’s collaborative team refers patients who are experiencing mental health conditions to specialists for psychiatric consultation and short-term care, including psychotherapy and medication management. Conditions commonly treated include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders and depression.
The partnership also serves as a training ground for trainees in the Psychiatry Residency Training Program who are considering a rotation in cardiology. UW Medicine psychiatrist Mark Sullivan is the lead mental health provider to the Center.
UW Medicine HEALTHworks: Heart health and depression