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BMC Public Health

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - Depression



Depression is a common and mostly undertreated problem in patients with chronic diseases. However, population-based studies on the association between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and subsequent depression are limited in Asian populations. This study evaluated the incidence and risk factors of depression for patients with COPD in Taiwan.


Using the claims data from the National Health Insurance of Taiwan, we identified 38,010 COPD patients newly diagnosed in 2000–2004 and 38,010 subjects without COPD frequency, matched by sex, age and index date. The incidence rate and hazard ratio for depression were estimated by the end of 2008.


The incidence rate of depression was 1.88 folds higher in the COPD cohort than in the non-COPD cohort (12.2 versus 6.47 per 1,000 person-years, p < 0.0001). The depression risk was the greatest within the first year following COPD diagnosis and tended to decline with follow-up time. Among COPD patients, multivariate analysis showed that younger women and low-income patients were at higher risk of depression. Hospitalization and comorbidities such as hypertension, arthritis, cancer, and heart disease were also significant predictors for depression risk.


This population-based cohort study demonstrated a strong relationship between COPD and subsequent depression. These findings could assist healthcare providers to pinpoint individuals with a higher predisposition to having depression, which could then facilitate the provision of culturally appropriate rehabilitation within the first year after the diagnosis of COPD.


Copyright 2013 Tsai et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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