History of depression is associated with worsened postoperative outcomes following colectomy

George Q. Zhang, Joseph K. Canner, Elizabeth J. Prince, Miloslawa Stem, James P. Taylor, Jonathan E. Efron, Chady Atallah, Bashar Safar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Depression is a prevalent disorder that is associated with adverse health outcomes, but an understanding of its effect in colorectal surgery remains limited. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of history of depression among patients undergoing colectomy. Method: United States patients from Marketscan (2010–2017) who underwent colectomy were included and stratified by whether they had a history of depression within the past year, defined as (1) a diagnosis of depression during the index admission, (2) a diagnosis of depression during any inpatient or (3) outpatient admission within the year, and/or (4) a pharmacy claim for an antidepressant within the year. The primary outcomes were length of stay (LOS) and inpatient hospital charge. Secondary outcomes included in-hospital mortality and postoperative complications. Logistic, negative binomial, and quantile regressions were performed. Results: Among 88 981 patients, 21 878 (24.6%) had a history of depression. Compared to those without, patients with a history of depression had significantly longer LOS (IRR = 1.06, 95% CI [1.05, 1.07]), increased inpatient charge (β = 467, 95% CI [167, 767]), and increased odds of in-hospital mortality (OR = 1.37, 95% CI [1.08, 1.73]) after adjustment. History of depression was also independently associated with increased odds of respiratory complication, pneumonia, and delirium (all P < 0.05). Conclusion: History of depression was prevalent among individuals undergoing colectomy, and associated with greater mortality and inpatient charge, longer LOS, and higher odds of postoperative complication. These findings highlight the impact of depression in colorectal surgery patients and suggest that proper identification and treatment may reduce postoperative morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2559-2566
Number of pages8
JournalColorectal Disease
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • colectomy
  • depression
  • length of stay
  • mental health
  • mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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