Objectives: Depressive and anxiety symptoms are common in elderly patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, true prevalence of clinical depression and anxiety is uncertain. We thus aimed to assess prevalence of clinical depression and/or anxiety in elderly COPD patients using the Geriatric Mental State Schedule (GMS) and determine severity of clinical depression by the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). We also aimed to validate the Brief Assessment Schedule Depression Cards (BASDEC) screening test for depressive symptoms against GMS.
Setting: A university teaching hospital.
Participants: Subjects comprised 137 (69 men) outpatients with COPD, aged 60 - 89 (mean 73) years. Exclusion criteria were acute respiratory exacerbation or use of oral corticosteroid within 6 weeks, known psychosis, acute or chronic confusion.
Measurements: A GMS score > or =3 is diagnostic of clinical depression, and a BASDEC score > or =7 is classed as "case". GMS was taken as gold standard. Severity of depression was assessed by the MADRS:
Results: Mean (SD) one second forced expiratory volume was 0.89 (0.3) litres. Sixty-two subjects (46%) scored as a "case" on BASDEC and 57 subjects (42%) were identified as clinically depressed on GMS. In the depressed the prevalence of anxiety was 37% and in the non-depressed 5%. BASDEC performed well against GMS, having a sensitivity of 100%; a specificity of 93%; a positive predictive value of 91% and a negative predictive value of 100%. Assessment of severity of depression by MADRS showed that 17 subjects (30%) were mildly depressed, 39 (68%) were moderately depressed and one (2%) was severely depressed.
Conclusion: Clinical depression and anxiety are common in elderly patients with COPD, though clinical anxiety seems mainly confined to those who also suffer clinical depression. Of those depressed, two-thirds scored in the moderately depressed range. BASDEC is a valid screening tool in this patient group.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.