Depressive symptoms and disability in acute patients with comorbidities in departments of internal medicine

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Salvatore La Carrubba *
Loredana Manna
Carmelina Rinollo
Antonino Mazzone
Gualberto Gussoni
Salvatore Di Rosa
on behalf of the DIMIS Study of FADOI
(*) Corresponding Author:
Salvatore La Carrubba |


Introduction: There are few data on the prevalence of depression among acute patients with comorbidities. The current study aimed to determine the prevalence of depressive symptoms in hospitalized patients admitted to Internal Medicine Units and the correlation between these symptoms and comorbidities and disability indexes.
Materials and methods: All consecutive patients admitted to 26 Internal Medicine Units of the Italian National Public Health System in Sicily, Italy, from September 2001 to March 2002 were screened. Within 24 hours of admission, patients were administered the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), Mini-Mental State Examination, Activities of Daily Living (ADL), Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) and Charlson’s Comorbidity Index.
Results: 1,947 subjects were included in the analyses. Of the patients, 509 (26.1%) showed depressive symptoms (indicated by GDS score > 15). Depression was significantly associated (univariate analyses) with hypertension (OR 1.45; CI 95% 1.18-1.79), diabetes (OR 1.48, CI 95% 1.17-1.87), cerebrovascular disease (OR 1.50, CI 95% 1.08-2.07), cirrhosis (OR 1.49, CI 95% 1.01- 2.19), ADL score (OR 0.72: CI 95% 0.63-0.82), and IADL score (OR 0.83; CI 95% 0.78-0.87), but not with Charlson’s Comorbidity Index (OR 1.04; CI 95% 0.98-1.10). Multivariate analysis showed that independent predictive factors for depression were age (OR 1.02, CI 95% 1.01-1.02), female gender (OR 2.29, CI 95% 1.83 - 2.87), and IADL score (OR 0.86, CI 95% 0.81 - 0.93).
Conclusions: The data suggest that depressive symptoms are not linked to worse clinical conditions but are associated with the loss of autonomy in Instrumental Activities of Daily Living.

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