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PTSD, Depression Common After Stem Cell Transplant

Decline in QOL and increase in depressive symptoms during hospitalization predict six-month outcomes

FRIDAY, Feb. 26, 2016 (HealthDay News) — A considerable proportion of patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) meet the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression at six months after the procedure, according to a study published in the March 1 issue of Cancer.

Areej R. El-Jawahri, M.D., from the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a prospective longitudinal study involving 90 patients hospitalized with HCT. They examined quality of life (QOL) using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Bone Marrow Transplantation, and used the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 to assess depression and anxiety symptoms at the time of admission for HCT, during hospitalization, and six months after HCT. At baseline and during admission, patients’ anxiety and depression symptoms were also measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. PTSD symptoms were assessed using the PTSD Checklist.

Data were available for 67 participants at six months. The researchers found that 28.4 and 43.3 percent of participants met the criteria for PTSD and had significant depression, respectively, at six months. Changes in QOL and depression scores between week two of HCT hospitalization and baseline predicted worse QOL and PTSD at six months after HCT, after adjustment for significant covariates.

“Managing symptoms of depression and QOL deterioration during HCT hospitalization may be critical to improving QOL at six months and reducing the risk of PTSD,” the authors write.

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