Is depression a risk factor for mortality in chronic hemodialysis patients?

Braz J Psychiatry. 2008 Jun;30(2):99-103. doi: 10.1590/s1516-44462008000200003.


Objective: The present study was conducted to assess the association between depressive symptomatology and mortality in chronic hemodialysis.

Method: A cohort of 40 patients was followed for a median period of 10.5 months. The Beck Depression Inventory was used to classify patients as exposed to depression (Beck Depression Inventory score > 14) or not (Beck Depression Inventory < or = 14). Kaplan-Meier survival curves were used to compare the mortality rate between the two groups. The effects of potential confounding factors were adjusted using Cox proportional hazards model.

Results: After 24 months of follow-up, survival rates were 39% for exposed and 95% for non-exposed patients (p = 0.029). The Cox proportional hazards model showed results similar to those of the bivariate analysis, indicating that depressive symptomatology tended to be associated with mortality (HR = 6.5, 95%CI: 0.8-55.6; p = 0.085). Other study variables, including age, concurrent systemic diseases, and biochemical markers, were not significantly associated with mortality. Exposed patients remained on dialysis longer and received kidney transplants less frequently (9% vs. 50% for non-exposed patients). When kidney transplantation was included in the Cox regression model, the hazard ratio of mortality for exposed as compared to non-exposed patients lost statistical significance (HR = 4.5; 95%CI: 0.5-40.0; p = 0.17).

Conclusions: Our study suggests that the presence of depressive symptoms may act as an independent risk factor for mortality in chronic hemodialysis patients. However, this finding needs further investigations.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Depression / complications*
  • Depression / mortality
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / mortality*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / psychology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Kidney Transplantation / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Dialysis / mortality*
  • Renal Dialysis / psychology*