Depressive symptoms in pulmonary arterial hypertension: prevalence and association with functional status

Psychosomatics. 2010 Jul-Aug;51(4):339-339.e8. doi: 10.1176/appi.psy.51.4.339.


Background: In patients with left-heart disease, depressive symptoms have a significant impact on functional status and quality of life. The prevalence of depressive symptoms, and their impact on patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is understudied.

Objective: The authors investigated the prevalence of depressive symptoms in PAH and their correlation with physical functioning.

Method: Consecutive outpatients with PAH (idiopathic; or associated with scleroderma, congenital heart disease, or anorexiant use) seen in two university PAH clinics were screened. At two outpatient visits, 8 to 16 weeks apart, patients completed the PHQ-8, a well-validated instrument for grading severity of depressive symptoms; they were assessed for cardiac functional class (FC), and performed a 6-minute walk-distance test (6MWD).

Results: A group of 100 patients (88% women, 50% with idiopathic PAH) were enrolled. At baseline, 15% of subjects had symptoms suggestive of major depressive disorder; 40% had mild-to-moderate depressive symptoms; and 45% had no-to-minimal depressive symptoms.

Conclusion: Depression is common in patients with PAH, with 55% demonstrating depressive symptoms. These results suggest that screening patients with PAH will identify a large proportion of patients who might benefit from depression therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colorado / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / blood
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / blood
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Exercise Test / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / blood
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / psychology*
  • Male
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Biomarkers