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Panminerva Medica 2008 September;50(3):217-20

lingua: Inglese

Screening anxious-depressive symptoms and pain in medical inpatients

Keller R. 1, Rigardetto R. 2, Vaccarino P. 3, Maggioni M. 3, Iannoccari G. 4, Teriaca M. J. 5

1 Mental Health Department, Local Health Unit ASL 2 Turin, Italy
2 Child Neuropsychiatry, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
3 Mental Health Department Local Health Unit ASL 2, Turin, Italy
4 Psychologist, Nursing Faculty, Turin, Italy
5 Faculty of Medicine and Nursing, University of Turin, Italy


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Aim. Several studies indicate a relationship among depression, anxiety, pain and hospitalization. Depression has a bidirectional relationship with cardiovascular disease, and it is observed in HIV-positive individuals, in cancer patients and it often complicates chronic pain.
Methods. In order to assess dimensionally depressive and anxious symptoms and pain in medical inpatients, 327 non-psychiatric inpatients were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Visual Analogical Scale (for pain, VAS). Inpatients were hospitalized for neurovascular disease, chronic medical illness, cancer, infectious disease, cardiovascular illness, orthopaedic surgery and general surgery.
Results. Very high anxiety levels were discovered in cardiovascular, general surgery, infectious and neurovascular patients, whereas depression levels were higher among cardiovascular and chronic patients. The highest levels of pain were found among patients admitted to the Oncology Unit and those suffering from chronic medical illness. A stronger, direct relationship was obtained between anxiety and depression than between pain and anxiety or depression. No statistical differences were found in men and women. Statistically speaking significant differences were found in wards. Pain is a significant predictive variable for anxiety and depression (P<0.001).
Conclusion. Screening for anxiety and depression should be included in the clinical interview carried out by the nurse at the moment of admission to the ward.

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