Presurgical assessment of bariatric patients with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-A screening of the prevalence of psychosocial comorbidity

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Abstract

Background: Bariatric surgery has gained increasing relevance due to the dramatic rise in morbid obesity prevalence. A sound body of scientific literature demonstrates positive long-term outcome of bariatric surgery in decreasing mental and physical health morbidity. Still, there is a need for a manageable presurgical screening to assess major mental disorders. The aim of this study was to assess the frequency of common psychiatric syndromes in bariatric surgery candidates using a computerized version of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ). Methods: In a prospective cohort study from August 2009 to July 2011 morbidly obese individuals seeking bariatric treatment were evaluated for mental health disorders using the PHQ (computerized German version). Results: A total of 159 patients were included in this study. The median age of participants was 42 years, the median BMI was 49 kg/m2. The PHQ revealed a prevalence of 84 % for mental health disorders, 50 % of the participants had three or more mental health disorders. A high somatic symptom burden (46 %), depressive syndromes (62 %) and anxiety disorders (29 %) were the most frequent psychiatric syndromes. The median number of psychiatric syndromes was 3 for women and 1 for men (p = 0.007). No correlation between BMI and a single syndrome or the sum of syndromes was observed. Conclusion: 84 % of the patients seeking bariatric treatment were screened positive for at least one mental health disorder. The computerized PHQ with automated reporting appears to be a useful instrument for presurgical assessment of bariatric patients in routine medical settings.

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Alizai, P. H., Akkerman, M. K., Kaemmer, D., Ulmer, F., Klink, C. D., Ernst, S., … Perlitz, V. (2015). Presurgical assessment of bariatric patients with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-A screening of the prevalence of psychosocial comorbidity. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12955-015-0278-5

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