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Cardiovascular | Heart Health

SCI Behavioral Health

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and a major cause of disability in the United States, with an estimated six million people having heart disease. Studies have shown depression is associated with increased risk of disease and death in patients with cardiovascular disease. In patients with heart disease, the prevalence of major depression is nearly 20 percent, with 27 percent of patients having minor depression.

Within the past 20 years, the medical community has increasingly recognized that behavioral health interventions can improve the physical well-being of patients diagnosed with heart disease.

How will this program help me?

Summa Cardiovascular Institute (SCVI) has added a component to its heart care programs to address depression and other issues that can impact the physical health of patients. Led by a clinical psychologist, SCVI’s behavioral health program offers heart patients and their families:

  • Assistance with lifestyle changes (smoking cessation, diet, exercise regimen adherence, etc.)
  • Treatment for symptoms related to depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social support stress
  • Treatment for fear and anxiety symptoms related to an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) or pacemaker
  • Advice for caregivers and family members on how to prevent stress-related conditions

What can I expect during visits?

Psychologists use a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation and mindfulness techniques to help patients learn how to cope with depression, stress, anxiety and other issues associated with coping with a cardiovascular disease. Mindfulness techniques encourage people to stay in the moment and avoid making judgments about what they are feeling or experiencing.

You also may receive referrals for assistance with smoking cessation, caregiver stress, diabetes education or other programs which can help you (and your family) effectively manage your cardiac condition.

How can I participate or learn more?

A physician's referral is required to participate in this program. If you are experiencing difficulty in adhering to your treatment plan, talk to your doctor about getting a referral to the SCVI Behavior Health program at Summa Akron City Hospital.

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