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Depression occurs shortly after open heart surgery in many patients. When depression is identified, traditional treatment consists of antidepressant medications along with cardiac rehabilitation and follow up care but these visits may not address depression. The purpose of this study compares traditional care with cognitive behavioral therapy. Does cognitive behavioral therapy more effectively manage depression than traditional care among male and female patients that have undergone open-heart surgery and acquired depressive symptoms? An article search of the following databases was conducted: PubMed and The Cochran Library. The review of literature explored studies that compare treatment between traditional care and CBT within the past eight years in male and female patients age 18 to 80. Freedland et al. (2009) found 73% remission rates at 9 months utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy whereas traditional care resulted in 36% remission of depressive symptoms at 9 months (p=.03). Doeringet al. (2013) determined, utilizing the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), that CBT patients experienced a 63% remission of depressive symptoms compared to traditional care patients that experienced 25% (p<.001). A meta-analysis performed by Beltman, Voshaarand Speckens (2010) evaluated CBT for depression in patients with somatic disease. Cognitive behavior therapy was found to be superior to traditional care and indicated larger effects in studies with patients diagnosed with depressive disorder [standardized mean difference (SMD) = -0.83, 95% CI -1.36 to -0.31, p< .001]. Cognitive behavioral therapy provides healthcare practitioners an effective option that will provide improved outcomes for patients with depression.


Physician Assistant Studies

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

First Advisor

Vikki McCleary

Publication Date



Cardiac Surgical Procedures -- adverse effects; Cardiac Surgical Procedures -- psychology; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Depression -- drug therapy; Depression -- therapy; Postoperative Care -- psychology; Comparative Study


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy | Psychiatric and Mental Health

A Comparison of Traditional Care and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Treating Depression Following Open Heart Surgery