Abdominal pain, frequent in patients with chronic pancreatitis (CP), has a negative impact on quality of life (QOL). Psychiatric comorbidities including anxiety and depression are associated with pain, but their prevalence and effects on QOL in CP have not been quantified. We studied the prevalence of anxiety and depression in patients with CP and their associated patient and disease characteristics and impact on QOL.
This was a cross-sectional, multicenter prospective study. Patients were screened with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale questionnaire. A Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale score >7 on the respective anxiety or depression subscales indicated the presence of anxiety or depression and was used as a surrogate for the diagnosis of psychiatric comorbidities. Patient demographics, disease characteristics, QOL (EORTC-QLQ-C30), and pain symptoms (Brief Pain Inventory Short Form) were compared between patients with and without psychiatric comorbidities.
One hundred seventy-one patients with CP (mean age 53.8 ± 13.7 years, 60% men) were included. Anxiety and depression were present in 80 (46.8%) and 66 (38.6%) patients, with overlap in 50 (29%). Patients with anxiety or depression reported higher pain prevalence, pain severity, and pain interference scores (all P < 0.001). Psychiatric comorbidities also associated with reduced global health scores and functional subscales (all P < 0.001) and higher symptom burden (P ≤ 0.03). An independent association was noted between global health status and depression (P < 0.001).
Psychiatric comorbidities are prevalent in patients with CP and associated with pain and QOL. Where the effect of anxiety on QOL may be mediated via pain, depression is independently related to QOL. These findings warrant consideration in the management of patients with CP.