Web based interventions appears to be feasible in helping persons with heart failure and depressive symptoms. In a newly published article in Journal of Medical Internet Research researchers based at ISV and IBL have investigated the effect of a guided CBT-program. 

– Previous research has shown that a combination of heart failure and depressive symptoms is both common and dangerous. Approximately 20-30% of the heart failure population is affected by significant depressive symptoms and these people often use more healthcare, have a gloomier prognosis and lower quality of life. At the same time effective treatment and support have not been developed for these people, says Johan Lundgren, PhD-student at the Department of Social and Welfare Studies (ISV).

The published article could not identify any significant difference between the intervention group (receiving web based CBT) and the control group (receiving a moderated discussion forum). 

 – The result suggest that web based CBT appears to be effective on depressive symptoms in people with heart failure. This is one of the first studies in the world utilizing web based CBT for this group of patients, so to me it appear quite clear that there is a lot of challenges that still has to be addressed. But I hope that the study can contribute to the development of care to a group that today very seldom receive professional and effective help for their health problems, says Johan Lundgren.

Both the intervention group and the control group improved in depressive symptoms, however the improvement was greater in the intervention group, where it also was statically significant. 

– One can reflect on the fact that the discussion forum also appear to be positive for some of the participants. This addresses questions about how web based interventions in a more general term can be used to improve health, something that needs to be investigated further. As an example it would be of interest to now who would benefit from different types of web based interventions, says Johan Lundgren .  


The Effect of Guided Web-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on Patients With Depressive Symptoms and Heart Failure: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial (Journal of Medical Internet Research)