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Nephron Clin Pract. 2011;118(2):c72-7. doi: 10.1159/000320037. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

Screening for depression in elderly hemodialysis patients.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.



Depression is common and associated with increased morbidity and mortality in elderly (≥65 years) hemodialysis patients. Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) have been used in different cohorts to screen for depression.


We aimed to evaluate the 15-item GDS (GDS-15) as such a tool in elderly hemodialysis patients and compare it with BDI, a previously validated tool in younger hemodialysis patients.


Cross-sectional study.


Four out-patient hemodialysis units; 1 based in a university hospital and 3 based in the community.


Hemodialysis patients aged 65 years and older.


Both tools were administered to all participants, and a geriatric psychiatrist blinded to the results evaluated them for depression by the gold standard psychiatric interview.


The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) for both tools were assessed against the psychiatric interview (n = 62).


Patients who were depressed according to the psychiatric interview had significantly higher GDS-15 and BDI scores compared to those not depressed (p < 0.01 both). ROC curves showed high predictive accuracy of the GDS-15 and BDI (area under the curve: 0.808 and 0.729) versus the psychiatric interview. The GDS-15 cutoff with the best diagnostic accuracy was 5 with a sensitivity of 63%, specificity of 82%, PPV of 60% and NPV of 83%. The BDI cutoff with the best diagnostic accuracy was 10 with a sensitivity of 68%, specificity of 77%, PPV of 57% and NPV of 85%.


These results provide evidence that the GDS-15 shows validity in comparison to a gold standard and can be used to screen for depression in the elderly hemodialysis population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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