Aims: To investigate the use of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) with recuperating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. To study prevalence rates and changes in clinically relevant anxiety and depression during rehabilitation.
Methods: Consecutive patients admitted to a non acute respiratory ward over a twelve week period were asked to complete a HADS questionnaire on three occasions. Nurses recorded basic demographic information on admission. Additional demographic, medical and psychiatric data were obtained by retrospective review of medical records.
Results: Of 93 consecutive inpatients, 79 (85%) completed the admission HADS. 72 patients were eligible to complete the day three HADS and 60 the discharge HADS. Clinically relevant anxiety (HADS score of > or =8) was indicated in 39 patients (50%) and depression in 22 (28%). HADS anxiety (p=0.05) and total scores (anxiety+depression) (p=0.03) decreased between admission and discharge. A larger proportion of patients scored within the normal or mild psychopathology range by discharge. More severe COPD (FEV1% predicted) correlated with higher HADS anxiety scores (r=-0.39, p<0.001) and HADS depression scores (r=-0.34, p<0.005). Patients with a recorded history of anxiety (p<0.0001) and depression (p<0.02) had higher WADS scores. Females (n=37) when compared to males (n=42), recorded significantly higher HADS anxiety scores throughout (p<0.005).
Conclusions: Clinically relevant anxiety, indicated by higher HADS scores, was more common in patients with severe COPD, a past history of anxiety or depression and females. Anxiety and total mood improved during inpatient rehabilitation. The use of this instrument with New Zealand COPD patients may improve identification and treatment of anxious and depressed patients.