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J Eval Clin Pract. 2009 Apr;15(2):307-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2008.01001.x.

Post-operative anxiety and depression levels in orthopaedic surgery: a study of 56 patients undergoing hip or knee arthroplasty.

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Centre for Hip Surgery, Wrightington Hospital, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust, Appley Bridge, Wigan, Lancashire, UK.



To investigate the presence and rates of anxiety and depression in postsurgical patients.


The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale was used to measure anxiety and depression levels. Patients completed the questionnaire on the day prior to surgery, then on each post-operative day up to and including their day of discharge. Statistical analysis using logistic regression was performed to determine whether any variables were risk factors for developing anxiety or depression. Fifty-six patients undergoing lower limb arthroplasty agreed to take part.


Post-operatively 17 patients became anxious prior to discharge. No variables were significant predictors of anxiety. Post-operatively 28 subjects (50%) became depressed at some point prior to discharge. Females were more likely to become depressed than males odds ratio (OR) = 3.48 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01-11.88]. Those who had had a previous lower limb arthroplasty were more likely to develop post-operative depression, OR = 3.92 (95% CI 1.05-14.6). Site of operation was not found to be significant, OR = 0.67 (95% CI 0.20-2.22). Age and anaesthetic method were not predictive of depression. The mean time point for development of depression was 2.43 days (SD = 1.40 days) and the time of deepest depression was 2.93 days (SD = 1.72 days). The mean length of depression was 1.93 days (SD = 1.21 days). The mean length of stay for depressed patients was 5 days (SD = 1.72), compared with 4 days for the non-depressed patients (SD = 1.62 days).


The results suggest that post-operative depression does occur in orthopaedic surgery. The prevalence may be higher than that reported in other surgical specialities. These findings emphasize the need for evaluation of patients' psychiatric state post-operatively.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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