Date of this Version


Document Type

DNP Project


Background: Connections between inflammation and the brain appear to be driving the development of depression in modern times. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is inherently a chronic inflammatory illness, and evidence supports a bidirectional relationship between CVD and depressive disorders. Depression is a mental health condition that is commonly comorbid in individuals with CVD, exacerbates other chronic diseases, and negatively affects health outcomes. Individuals with CVD are at a higher risk of experiencing depressive symptoms and developing depressive disorders than members of the public. Clinicians are not aware of the high levels of comorbidity between CVD and depression. Early detection of depressive symptoms can lead to better management, improving patient care and outcomes. Though the prevalence of depressive symptoms is higher in individuals with CVD, the signs and symptoms of depression are frequently overlooked and undocumented by clinicians, upon hospital admission and throughout hospital stays for individuals with cardiovascular events.

Objective: The primary objective of the QI project was to assess the impact of an educational presentation focused on the comorbidity of depression and CVD, patient benefits of depressive symptom documentation, and the SIG-E-CAPS mnemonic on clinician knowledge, attitude, and behaviors regarding the subjects.

Methods: Utilizing a pretest/posttest design, clinician knowledge levels, attitudes regarding and behaviors surrounding depression assessment upon admission for CVD were ascertained. Pretest responses were used in an educational session, then post session test responses were compared.

Conclusion: Educational presentations containing evidence-based information about the links between depression and CVD as well as the benefits of depression screening and documentation to patient health increases the knowledge and attitudes of clinicians in a cardiac unit. The educational presentation also has positive impacts on the overall behaviors of clinicians and the likelihood of clinicians listening carefully for depressive symptoms expressed by patients and screening for depression upon admission. The results of the QI project can be used in further studies to justify the need for depression screening protocols upon admission of CVD patients.