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Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2013 Dec;155(12):2255-61.

Postsurgical screening for psychosocial disorders in neurooncological patients.



The diagnosis of a brain tumor can cause severe psychosocial distress, which can have a variety of negative consequences on patients' physical and mental well-being. The detection of psychosocial distress in daily clinical routine is difficult and subsequent referral to mental health professionals is rare. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of psychological disorders of patients early postoperatively and to investigate both the Hornheide Screening Instrument (HSI) and Distress Thermometer (DT) as screening tools in neurooncological practice.


One hundred and thirty-four patients with brain tumors of different histology were postoperatively evaluated by the Distress Thermometer and Hornheide Screening Instrument. Additionally, correlation to gender, age, localization of the tumor, Karnofsky performance score and tumor entity were analyzed.


After initial surgery 36 patients (26.9 %) showed pathologic results in the HSI and 50 patients (36.7 %) were severely distressed (DT Scoreā‰„6). Women had the highest rate of psychological disorders, followed by patients suffering from gliomas and meningiomas. Further highlighting the results of both tests, over 80 % of those patients who scored pathologically in both tests were in need of professional psychiatric help due to depression.


Both the DT and HSI are suitable instruments for identifying patients in psychological distress after brain tumor surgery in neurooncological routine. Our results confirm that nearly one third of patients are unable to overcome the difficulties facing the diagnosis of a brain tumor in this early situation and should be supported by mental health professionals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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