Abstracts of Posters; Presented at the International Anesthesia Research Society; 73rd Clinical and Scientific Congress; Los Angeles, CA; March 12-16, 1999: Ambulatory Anesthesia
INTRODUCTION: We have been intrigued by patient reports of post-operative depression following general anesthesia. Data is scarce concerning post-operative depression in the current literature. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of postoperative depression in non-cardiac patients after anesthesia and surgery.
METHODS: Following IRB approval, 117 patients over 21 years of age who were to receive general anesthesia for non-cardiac surgery were asked to complete the Beck Depression Inventory as a baseline prior to surgery. The Beck's Inventory is a commonly employed tool in the assessment of depression.  This sampling method has consistencies ranging from .73 to .92 with a mean of .86. Patients were given the Beck's Inventory again on postoperative days 2 and 7.
RESULTS: 22 patients returned the completed survey. The sample group included a wide variety of surgeries, ages, and psychological states of the patients. There were no significant changes in the depression inventory scores from the preoperative baseline to postoperative days 2 and 7 in 18. 4 patients had significant increases in their Beck's score on postoperative day 2. These patients had orthopedic surgery. These elevations returned to normal baseline by postoperative day 7. Patients with a known diagnosis of depression and on medication had no significant change in their Beck's Inventory. (Table 1)
CONCLUSION: The data suggests that while postoperative depression after anesthesia and surgery is not common, it does exist. The etiology of this depression is probably multifactorial and relates to preoperative mood, site of surgery, anesthetics, and postoperative ambulatory status.
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