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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Kim Lebowitz, PhD and Cardiac Behavioral Medicine Service featured on Good Morning America

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October 10, 2008

Chicago -

Kim R. Lebowitz, PhD is the founder and director of Cardiac Behavioral Medicine at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.   Dr. Lebowitz was recently featured on Good Morning America discussing depression and the coronary heart disease patients.

Cardiac Behavioral Medicine-the only program of its kind in Chicago-is a comprehensive psychological evaluation and treatment option for patients with cardiovascular disease. The program helps patients and their families adjust to a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease and provides support for patients who require cardiovascular surgery.  In addition, patients are educated about the role of emotions and stress in their cardiovascular health. They are taught techniques that facilitate behavior change, improve coping strategies, minimize stress, and correct faulty ways of thinking, like those associated with depression and anxiety.

As clinical psychologists specializing in cardiovascular psychology, Dr. Lebowitz and associate Gail M. Osterman, PhDhave long understood that emotional well-being is very important for all cardiovascular patients.  Depression and stress impact the quality of a person's life and can increase the chance that a patient experiences a future cardiovascular event.  The American Heart Association (AHA) now understands this too.  In their first scientific statement on depression and coronary heart disease, the AHA is now urging healthcare providers to screen patient with coronary heart disease early and often for depression as these patients are three times more likely to suffer from depression than the general population.  Below is one option for screening coronary heart disease patients.  

The AHA screening recommends that all coronary heart disease patients should be asked:
Over the past two weeks, how often have you been bothered by the following two symptoms?

  1. Little interest or pleasure in doing things
  2. Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless

Patients who answer "yes" to either question should be evaluated using seven additional questions that explore how often the patient has been bothered in the past two weeks by:

  1. Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much
  2. Feeling tired or having little energy
  3. Poor appetite or overeating 
  4. Feeling bad about yourself, that you are a failure, or that you have let yourself or your family down 
  5. Trouble concentrating on things such as reading the newspaper or watching television 
  6. Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed or being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around a lot more than usual
  7. Thinking that you would be better off dead or that you want to hurt yourself in some way.

In addition to these screening recommendations, The AHA's scientific statement on depression also provides recommendations for healthcare providers for the assessment, referral and treatment of depression.

To schedule an evaluation or inquire about services regarding Cardiac Behavioral Medicine through the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, please call 312-695-4965.

Last UpdateDecember 2, 2011