Cognitive impairment and depression in patients with heart failure (HF) are common comorbidities and are associated with increased morbidity, readmissions and mortality. Timely recognition of cognitive impairment and depression is important for providing optimal care. The aim of our study was to determine if these disorders were recognised by clinicians and, secondly, if they were associated with hospital admissions and mortality within 6 months’ follow-up.
Patients (aged ≥65 years) diagnosed with HF were included from the cardiology outpatient clinic of Gelre Hospitals. Cognitive status was evaluated with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment test (score ≤22). Depressive symptoms were assessed with the Geriatric Depression Scale (score >5). Patient characteristics were collected from electronic patient files. The clinician was blinded to the tests and asked to assess cognitive status and mood.
We included 157 patients. Their median age was 79 years (65-92); 98 (62%) were male. The majority had New York Heart Association functional class II. Cognitive impairment was present in 56 (36%) patients. Depressive symptoms were present in 21 (13%) patients. In 27 of 56 patients (48%) cognitive impairment was not recognised by clinicians. Depressive symptoms were not recognised in 11 of 21 patients (52%). During 6 months’ follow-up 24 (15%) patients were readmitted for HF-related reasons and 18 (11%) patients died. There was no difference in readmission and mortality rate between patients with or without cognitive impairment and patients with or without depressive symptoms.
Cognitive impairment and depressive symptoms were infrequently recognised during outpatient clinic visits.