Depression Risk High Among Chronic Kidney Disease Patients

by Rajashri on Sep 10 2009 10:16 PM

A new study has indicated that patients suffering from chronic kidney disease are likely to be depressed.

"Because patients in the early stages of chronic kidney disease are at increased risk for clinical depression, we as nephrologists should consider screening our patients for depression in clinic," said Dr. Susan Hedayati, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and a staff nephrologist at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Centre.

Previous studies have shown that depression rates in the general community are 2 percent to 4 percent; among diabetes patients, 11 percent; among congestive heart failure patients, 14 percent; and among coronary artery disease after heart attack patients, 16 percent.

"Chronic kidney disease patient depression numbers may be higher due to the presence of the same simultaneously occurring conditions that resulted in progressive kidney disease, such as diabetes and atherosclerotic vascular disease," said Hedayati.

"Alternatively, patients such as diabetics, who are depressed, may develop progressive kidney disease because of non-adherence to medications and physicians' advice," she added.

During the study, the researchers recruited 272 participants, who underwent a structured clinical interview to determine if they had a current major depressive episode.

They found 21 percent participants to be depressed. The mean age of depressed patients was about 65; two were women; and nearly 56 percent were white. All patients were veterans.

The researchers also found that diabetic patients were twice as likely to be depressed as those without diabetes; 63 percent of patients had at least three other medical conditions; and 41 percent had at least four other diseases.

Hedayati is now conducting the Chronic Kidney Disease Antidepressant Sertraline Trial (CAST) to determine whether antidepressant medication would be tolerated in kidney-disease patients and whether such treatment can improve depression.

The study appears in American Journal of Kidney Diseases.