Durham, North Carolina 27710


Purpose:

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the United States; more than 600,000 Americans suffer a fatal cardiac event each year. Traditional CHD risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, and elevated cholesterol do not fully account for the timing and occurrence of CHD events and individuals with elevated levels of anxiety appear to have a greater risk of cardiovascular events. The present study will examine the impact of aerobic exercise and Lexapro in the treatment of anxiety and cardiovascular biomarkers among individuals with CHD.


Study summary:

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the United States; more than 600,000 Americans suffer a fatal cardiac event each year. Traditional CHD risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, and elevated cholesterol do not fully account for the timing and occurrence of CHD events. The term "cardiovascular vulnerable patient" has been used to describe patients susceptible to acute coronary events based upon plaque, blood, or myocardial characteristics. Psychosocial factors also have been shown to be associated with increased adverse health outcomes and increased cardiovascular vulnerability. For example, clinical depression and elevated depressive symptoms are associated with increased morbidity and mortality, and as a result, the American Heart Association has recommended that clinicians should routinely assess depression in CHD patients. Although much research and clinical recommendations have focused on depression, the significance of anxiety has been largely ignored, despite the fact that anxiety disorders are as prevalent as depression in the general population and are associated with similar levels of disability. Despite the prevalence and prognostic significance of anxiety in CHD populations, there have been few randomized clinical trials (RCTs) specifically targeting anxious CHD patients. Anxiolytic medications, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have been shown to be effective in treating anxiety. SSRIs have been evaluated for the treatment of clinical depression in cardiac patients, with equivocal results. Surprisingly, to our knowledge, there have been no RCTs examining the efficacy of medications for treating anxiety in CHD patients. Moreover, because many cardiac patients are reluctant to take additional medications and psychotropic medications may not be effective for everyone or may produce unwanted side effects, there continue to be a need to identify alternative approaches for treating anxiety in cardiac patients. The investigators believe that exercise may be one such approach. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the following hypotheses in a population of CHD patients with elevated symptoms of anxiety. The present study will examine the impact of a 3-month intervention of either exercise, Lexapro, or placebo on anxiety symptoms and CHD biomarkers among individuals with cardiac disease and elevated anxiety. The investigators hypothesize that: (1) Both exercise training and medication will reduce anxiety symptoms to a greater extent than placebo; (2) Exercise training will improve CHD biomarkers of risk including autonomic regulation, vascular endothelial function, and inflammation more than either medication or placebo; and (3) Improvements in CHD biomarkers will be mediated by reductions in symptoms of anxiety. The investigators also will explore potential moderators of treatment (e.g., anxiety diagnoses, CHD severity) as well as the longer-term benefits of treatment by documenting medical events and health care costs over a follow-up period of up to 4 years.


Criteria:

Inclusion Criteria: - Men and women with documented CHD (i.e., a prior MI, coronary revascularization procedure, or >70% stenosis in at least one coronary artery) - Age > 39 years - Patients also will have an anxiety symptom severity score of at least 8 on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression-Anxiety scale (HADS-A); a subgroup of patients will also have a DSM-5 diagnosis of an Anxiety Disorder. The study team plans to actively recruit women and minorities, with at least 50% women and 25% minorities. Exclusion Criteria: - An MI or coronary revascularization procedure (i.e., CABG or percutaneous coronary intervention) within the last 3 months - Unstable angina - Severe left ventricular dysfunction (ejection fraction <30%) or decompensated heart failure - Unrevascularized left main coronary artery stenosis >50% - Complete Pacemaker dependence - Resting BP >200/120 mm Hg - Conditions that would preclude randomization to either the drug (e.g., prolonged QT interval, known allergy to or intolerance of escitalopram) or exercise (e.g., musculoskeletal problems or abnormal cardiac response to exercise) - Patients with a primary psychiatric diagnosis other than Anxiety Disorder will be excluded, including patients with MDD, PTSD, OCD, or any of the following DSM-5 diagnoses: 1. Dementia, delirium; 2. Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective, or other psychotic disorder; 3. Psychotic features including any delusions or hallucinations; or 4. Current alcohol or other substance abuse disorder. - Similarly, patients who pose an acute suicide or homicide risk or who, during the course of the study, would likely require treatment with additional psychopharmacologic agents will not be enrolled. - Patients will also be excluded if they are taking other medications that would preclude assignment to either drug or exercise conditions (e.g., clonidine, dicumarol, anticonvulsants, and MAO inhibitors) or are taking herbal supplements with purported mood effects (e.g., St. John's Wort, valerian, ginkgo). - Patients already engaged in regular exercise (at least 30 minutes >1x/week) will not be enrolled. - Finally, pregnant women will be excluded from participation.


NCT ID:

NCT02516332


Primary Contact:

Bryan J Feger, PhD
Phone: 919-681-3054
Email: bryan.feger@dm.duke.edu


Backup Contact:

Email: patrick.j.smith@dm.duke.edu
Patrick J Smith, PhD, MPH
Phone: 919-681-3006


Location Contact:

Durham, North Carolina 27710
United States

Bryan J Feger, PhD
Phone: 919-681-3054
Email: bryan.feger@dm.duke.edu

Site Status: Recruiting


Data Source: ClinicalTrials.gov

Date Processed: November 19, 2017

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