As in people with other chronic lung conditions, depression and anxiety affect patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis at higher rates than are found in the general population, according to a recent study.
Since untreated psychiatric illnesses can increase disease severity and disability, researchers argued that greater efforts are needed to develop strategies for early identification and treatment of such conditions in bronchiectasis patients.
The study, “Factors related to depression and anxiety in adults with bronchiectasis,” was published in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.
Researchers at the Yedikule Chest Disease and Thoracic Surgery Training and Research Hospital in Turkey recruited 133 bronchiectasis patients to the study. The patients, who had been sick for an average of 6.8 years, were evaluated using the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS).
The survey showed that 21.1 percent had depression, and 39.8 had anxiety. Researchers could not find any differences in symptoms between patients with high and low survey scores. The type of treatment used was also not linked to the conditions.
Other factors that could contribute to depression in patients, the researchers found, were having a previous history of depression, and a visit to a hospital’s emergency room within the last year.
Anxiety was also related to depression history, and a relatively recent emergency room visit. Employment status and female sex were also linked to anxiety.
Running an analysis taking all possible factors into account, researchers showed that hospital admission after an emergency room visit was linked to a higher risk of depression. Looking specifically at symptoms, coughing blood (hemoptysis) was the only symptom linked to depression.
A similar analysis for anxiety showed that low education levels, admission via the emergency room, and a history of depression increased the risk of anxiety.
“In conclusion, patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis are at increased risk for anxiety and depression. … Untreated and undetected depressive and anxiety symptoms may increase physical disability, morbidity, and health care utilization,” the team concluded. “Future research is needed to address the impact, early detection, and management of anxiety and depression from bronchiectasis.”
Researchers admit that their study has its limitations, and suggest that more and larger studies are needed to understand the impact of these two psychiatric diseases on outcomes for bronchiectasis patients.