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A depression screening tool finds that 54% of acute cardiac patients are at risk of depression; use of the tool improves documentation and referral
  1. Brett Thombs
  1. Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Jewish General Hospital and McGill University
  1. Correspondence to: Brett Thombs
    Jewish General Hospital, 4333 Cote Ste, Catherine Road, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3T 1E4; brett.thombs{at}

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Commentary on: Ski CF, Page K, Thompson DR, et al. Clinical outcomes associated with screening and referral for depression in an acute cardiac ward. J Clin Nurs 2012;21:2228–34.

Implications for practice and research

  • This study found that nurses on cardiovascular care units were able to administer depression screening tools and document referral activities for positive screens.

  • It is not known whether depression screening improved depression outcomes.

  • Evidence of benefits in excess of harms, established by well-conducted randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of depression screening interventions, is needed before depression screening is implemented in cardiovascular care settings.


Major depressive disorder (MDD) may be present in up to 20% of heart disease patients and has been associated with poorer cardiac prognosis, reduced quality of life, less favourable self-care behaviours and higher healthcare costs.1 A 2008 American Heart Association (AHA) …

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  • Competing interests BT was supported by a New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.