Associations of depressive symptoms with outcomes in patients implanted with left ventricular assist devices

Laura Suarez, Shannon M. Dunlay, Sarah D. Schettle, John M. Stulak, Jeffrey P. Staab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We examined characteristics of depressive symptoms in patients who received left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) to assess their effects on negative outcomes post-implantation. Methods: We retrospectively identified 203 adults with pre-operative PHQ-9 scores who underwent LVAD placement as bridge to transplant (BTT) or destination therapy (DT). We analyzed effects of PHQ-9 total, somatic, and cognitive/affective scores and proportion of patients with clinical depression on all-cause mortality, rehospitalization, major bleeding, and neurologic events post-implantation, controlling for demographics and other medical comorbidities. Results: Mean total PHQ-9 scores did not differ between 81 BTT and 122 DT patients (BTT 6.4 vs. DT 7.5, p = 0.12). A higher proportion of DT patients had clinical depression (BTT 22% vs. DT 39%, p = 0.015). Somatic symptoms accounted for three-quarters of total scores in both groups. PHQ-9 domains were not associated with negative outcomes post-implantation. Conclusion: Depression severity did not differ based on implant strategy, but more DT patients had clinical depression. Somatic symptoms were the biggest contributor to depressive symptoms. Pre-implantation PHQ-9 scores were not associated with outcomes, possibly because depression was mild in both groups. Additional work is needed in LVAD patients to better characterize depressive symptoms and their unique effects on clinical course and well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-98
Number of pages6
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • Cognitive/affective
  • Depression
  • End-stage heart failure
  • Left ventricular assist device (LVAD)
  • Patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9)
  • Somatic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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