The effect of exercise therapy on depressive and anxious symptoms in patients with ischemic heart disease: A systematic review

A.M. Eskes, J.M. Maaskant, A. M. Roest, C.H.M. Latour, W.J.M. Scholte op Reimer

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Objective:Depressive and anxiety symptoms are associated with Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD). Exercise inter-ventions might improve both depressive and anxiety symptoms, but an overview of the evidence is lacking.Therefore, we systematically reviewed the existing literature on the effectiveness of exercise therapy to reducedepression and anxiety symptoms specifically in patients with IHD.Methods:MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searcheduntil January 2016. The effectiveness of exercise was assessed within two groups: a) patients selected for studywith severe depression or anxiety; and b) studies that did not exclusively targeted patients with increased levelsof depression or anxiety. Secondary outcomes were mortality, cardiac events, re-hospitalizations and cardio-vascular risk factors.Results:We included fourteen studies. Clinical and methodological heterogeneity precluded meta-analysis.Three studies specifically included patients with high levels of depression or anxiety and eleven studies selectedpatients with unclear levels of depression or anxiety. Some RCTs showed that exercise was effective in loweringsevere depressive symptoms (short and long term follow-up), but for the group with unclear depressive symp-toms the results were non-conclusive. In the group with elevated anxiety symptoms, exercise had a positive effecton the short term follow-up. In the group with unclear anxiety symptoms the results were inconsistent (short andlong term follow-up). No differences were found regarding the secondary outcomes.Conclusions:There is a general paucity of data on the effect of exercise, precludingfirm conclusions about theeffectiveness of exercise for depressive and anxiety symptoms in IHD patients.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


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