Relationship between psychological well-being and lung health status in patients with bronchiectasis

Respir Med. 2002 Sep;96(9):686-92. doi: 10.1053/rmed.2002.1330.


Patients with bronchiectasis often complain of abnormal tiredness, difficulty in concentrating or low spirits. This study was carried out to examine levels of anxiety and depression in bronchiectasis and their relationship with other measures of lung health. One hundred and eleven patients with bronchiectasis determined by high-resolution computed tomography (CT) scan were studied using a range of physiological and psychological outcome measures. Patients completed anxiety and depression, health status (quality of life), fatigue and dypnoea questionnaires. Lung function was measured and exercise capacity was assessed using a shuttle walk test. Anxiety and depression scores formed a continuum. Moderate-severe anxiety was more frequent than equivalent levels of depression (17 vs 9% of patients). Anxiety and depression scores were associated with perceived health status (r=0.33 and 0.55). Neither anxiety nor depression was associated with the extent of bronchiectasis on CT scan. Depression was correlated with breathlessness and exercise performance (r=0.33 and 0.40), but anxiety was not. The correlation between depression and exercise performance was not simply due to the influence of somatic items in the depression questionnaire. We conclude that anxiety and depression are quite common in bronchiectasis in that 34% of patients had elevated scores for anxiety depression or both. The non-somatic components of depression were linked to dyspnoea and exercise performance, but anxiety was only related to perceived health. Therefore, treatment aimed at reducing symptoms and improving exercise capacity will not reduce levels of anxiety which need alternative therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Bronchiectasis / psychology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods