Depression, Anxiety Common Among CF Patients

Patricia Inácio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inácio, PhD |

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Depression and CF


Depression and anxiety are common among people with cystic fibrosis (CF), a systematic review reports.

The study “Global Burden of Anxiety and Depression among Cystic Fibrosis Patient: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” was published in the International Journal of Chronic Diseases.

In people with CF, a genetic defect in the CFTR gene causes the buildup of thick mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs, impeding their functions. Chronically ill patients, such as those with lung complications caused by CF, are generally at increased risk for anxiety and depression.

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Evidence suggests that adults with CF, as well as parents of children with CF, have an increased risk to experience depression compared to the general population.

Depression and anxiety are known contributors to poorer quality of life, and linked with increased healthcare costs.

Now, a team led by researchers at the Wolaita Sodo University, in Ethiopia, conducted a systematic review to gather and summarize evidence from studies regarding rates of the conditions among CF patients worldwide.

After a search in six online databases — PubMed, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Cochrane, Scopus, the web of Science CINAHL — and manually on Google Scholar, they included 26 studies in their final analysis, following the removal of duplicates and studies that did not match certain eligibility criteria.

The studies included in the analysis were cross-sectional, meaning they assess the intended outcomes across all participants at a given time-point. Most of the studies were conducted in Europe.

All assessed the levels of depression in a total of 9,766 CF patients; anxiety was assessed in 24 studies, totaling 9,567 patients.

The results obtained after specific data analysis revealed that the overall global prevalence of anxiety was of 24.91%, and depression of 14.13%, across CF patients.

Researchers then conducted subgroup analyses and compared both anxiety and depression prevalence according to the geographical location.

Anxiety prevalence showed a marked variation across continents: the lowest prevalence (23.59%) was seen in North America, and the highest (26.77%) seen in Europe. The opposite was seen for depression, with the highest prevalence seen in North America (18.67%) and the lowest in Europe (13.27%).

Overall, these results support previous evidence and show that both anxiety and depression are common among CF patients.

The findings highlight the need for “close monitoring of the patient, regularly screening for anxiety and depression and appropriate prevention techniques,” the researchers wrote.

“Routine screening for symptoms of anxiety and depression is a worthy endeavor, and those identified with elevated clinical symptoms should be referred to receive appropriate treatment,” the team concluded.