Depression in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Chron Respir Dis. 2013 Aug;10(3):127-33. doi: 10.1177/1479972313493098.


Depression carries enormous global morbidity and is 1.5-7 times likelier to occur in individuals with chronic illness than in the general population. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) has a rising incidence with a severe impact on quality of life. An indication of the prevalence of depression in this group is therefore of paramount interest. A prospective study was performed. A total of 118 participants with IPF who attended the interstitial lung disease clinic in Ninewells Hospitals, Dundee, Scotland, from May 2010 to September 2011 were recruited. Informed consent was obtained. The male to female ratio was 60:58. The Wakefield Self-assessment of Depression Inventory was used (scores ≥15 denote a depressed state). Pulmonary function tests were measured to correlate disease severity with depression scores. Of them, 58 patients had significant depressive symptoms scoring ≥15; only nine were taking antidepressant medication. The mean depression score of female participants was 15.0 ± 0.77 (SD 5.9), compared with a mean male score of 13.1 ± 0.99 (SD 7.5). Disease severity, age, duration since diagnosis and number of co-morbidities were not significantly correlated with depression. The study population had a high prevalence of depressive symptoms. Medical therapy for pulmonary fibrosis is limited and therefore palliation of symptoms and pulmonary rehabilitation form the main strategy for management. Depression should be actively screened in patients with IPF.

Keywords: Pulmonary fibrosis; depression; interstitial lung disease; rehabilitation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / complications
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / psychology*
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / rehabilitation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Self-Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Antidepressive Agents