Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Untreated Depression Can Lead to Decreased Survival for Transplant Recipients

Untreated depression has been associated with multiple consequences for an individual's physical health, and a new study adds to that concern showing that it is the factor most strongly linked to long-term mortality after liver transplantation, said researchers at the University of Pittsburgh online in the American Journal of Transplantation. They prospectively assessed 167 patients who received transplants for alcohol-related liver disease from 1998 to 2003. Depression symptoms were measured with the Beck Depression Inventory throughout the first posttransplant year, and adequacy of antidepressant treatment was measured with the Antidepressant Treatment History Form. Liver-transplant recipients were classified as having no depression, adequately treated depression, or inadequately treated depression. After a median follow-up of 9.5 years, those with adequately treated depression had no significant difference in survival when compared with the nondepressed group. Recipients with inadequately treated depression, however, had decreased survival times compared with nondepressed liver recipients.

In addition to playing a role in recovery from organ transplantation, mental health is a crucial factor in making transplant decisions. To read more about that topic, see Psychiatric News here.

(Image: Alexander Raths/Shutterstock.com)