Introduction: Hypercortisolism leads to severe clinical consequences persisting after the onset of remission. These physical sequelae of cortisol exposure are known to profoundly impact the patient's quality of life. As psychological factors may be correlated with this quality of life, our objective was to determine the specific weight of psychological determinants of quality of life in patients in remission from hypercortisolism.
Patients and methods: In an observational study, 63 patients with hypercortisolism in remission were asked to complete exhaustive self-administered questionnaires including quality of life (WHOQoL-BREF and Cushing QoL), depression, anxiety, self-esteem, body image, and coping scales. Multivariate analyses were performed. Psychological variables relevant to the model were: anxiety, depression, self-esteem, body image, and positive thinking dimension of the Brief-COPE. Cortisol deficiency was defined as a potential confounder.
Results: The median time since remission was 3 years. Patients had significantly lower quality of life and body satisfaction score than the French population and patients with chronic diseases. Depression significantly impaired all WHOQoL and Cushing QoL domains. A low body satisfaction score significantly impaired social relationships quality of life score. In total, 42.9% of patients still needed working arrangements, 19% had disability or cessation of work.
Conclusion: Patients in biological remission of hypercortisolism can rarely be considered as functionally cured: this is evidenced by altered quality of life, working arrangements, and chronic depression. A multidisciplinary management of these patients is thus mandatory on a long-term basis.