Purpose: We aimed to test the utility of screening for depressive symptoms in the hand surgical office focusing on chances of heightened depressive symptoms in patients with no history of diagnosed depression and by quantifying ongoing depressive symptoms among patients diagnosed with depression accounting for antidepressant use. The clinical importance of this study was predicated on the documented negative association between depressive symptoms and hand surgical outcomes. Methods: This cross-sectional study analyzed 351 patients presenting to a tertiary hand center between April 21, 2016, and November 22, 2017. Adult patients completed self-administered Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Depression computer adaptive tests at registration. Health records were examined for a past medical history of diagnosed depression and whether patients reported current use of prescription antidepressants. Mean PROMIS Depression scores were compared by analysis of variance (groups: no diagnosed depression, depression without medication, depression with medication). Four points represented a clinically relevant difference in PROMIS Depression scores between groups and Depression scores greater than 59.9 were categorized as having heightened depressive symptoms. Results: Sixty-two patients (18%) had been diagnosed with depression. Thirty-four of these patients (55%) reported taking antidepressant medications. The PROMIS Depression scores indicated greater current depressive symptoms among patients with a history of diagnosed depression when not taking antidepressants (11 points worse than unaffected) and also among patients taking antidepressants (7 points worse than unaffected). Heightened depressive symptoms were detected in all groups but were more prevalent among those diagnosed with depression (36% with no medication, 29% with antidepressant medication) compared with unaffected patients (7%). Conclusions: Depression screening for heightened depressive symptoms identifies 1 in 14 patients without diagnosed depression and 1 in 3 patients diagnosed with depression as having currently heightened depressive symptoms. Hand surgeons can use PROMIS Depression screening in all patients and using this to guide referrals for depression treatment to ameliorate one confounder of hand surgical outcomes. Type of study/level of evidence: Symptom prevalence study II.
- patient-reported outcomes