What Does a Diagnosis of Depression Mean for Patients Undergoing Colorectal Surgery?

J Surg Res. 2021 Apr:260:454-461. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2020.11.006. Epub 2020 Dec 1.


Background: Depression has been linked to increased morbidity and mortality in patients after surgery. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of documented depression diagnosis on in-hospital postoperative outcomes of patients undergoing colorectal surgery.

Materials and methods: Patients from the National Inpatient Sample (2002-2017) who underwent proctectomies and colectomies were included. The outcomes measured included total hospital charge, length of stay, delirium, wound infection, urinary tract infection (UTI), pneumonia, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, mortality, paralytic ileus, leak, and discharge trends. Multivariable logistic and Poisson regression analyses were performed.

Results: Of the 4,212,125 patients, depression diagnosis was present in 6.72% of patients who underwent colectomy and 6.54% of patients who underwent proctectomy. Regardless of procedure type, patients with depression had higher total hospital charges and greater rates of delirium, wound infection, UTI, leak, and nonroutine discharge, with no difference in length of stay. On adjusted analysis, patients with a depression diagnosis who underwent colectomies had increased risk of delirium (odds ratio (OR) 2.11, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.93-2.32), wound infection (OR 1.08, 95% CI 1.03-1.12), UTI (OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.10-1.20), paralytic ileus (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.03-1.09), and leak (OR 1.37, 95% CI 1.30-1.43). Patients who underwent proctectomy showed similar results, with the addition of significantly increased total hospital charges among the depression group. Depression diagnosis was independently associated with lower risk of in-hospital mortality (colectomy OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.53-0.62; proctectomy OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.55-0.94).

Conclusions: Patients with a diagnosis of depression suffer worse in-hospital outcomes but experience lower risk of in-hospital mortality after undergoing colorectal surgery. Further studies are needed to validate and fully understand the driving factors behind this.

Keywords: Colorectal surgery; Depression; Mortality; Postoperative outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colectomy* / economics
  • Databases, Factual
  • Depression / complications*
  • Depression / economics
  • Female
  • Hospital Charges / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / economics
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / economics
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Preoperative Period
  • Proctectomy* / economics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United States