Anxiety and depression in spine surgery - a systematic integrative review

Janni Strøm, Merete Bender Bjerrum, Claus Vinther Nielsen, Cecilie N. Thisted, Tove Lise Nielsen, Malene Laursen, Lene B Jørgensen

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Symptoms of preoperative anxiety and depression occur in approximately one-third of patients with chronic back pain undergoing surgery. In the last 2 decades, several studies have established that preoperative anxiety and depression are important outcome predictors of greater pain and physical impairments, and lower health-related quality of life in patients undergoing spine surgery. To accommodate symptoms of anxiety and depression and thereby better surgical outcomes, we need to identify factors associated with these symptoms.
We aimed to identify factors associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression in adults both before and after undergoing spinal surgery.
Study Design:
An integrative literature review was carried out.
The independent charity Helsefonden supported this literature review by contributing $45,000 to remunerate a dedicated investigator. A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Embase, Scopus, Cochrane, and Web of Science. A three-step selection and assessment process was conducted; titles and abstracts of 1,124 articles were skimmed for relevance and of these, 53 articles were found to be of relevance and were read in full. Articles not meeting the inclusion criteria (n=26) were excluded. The 31 articles were critically appraised for methodological validity; 14 of these were synthesized and analyzed using a convergent qualitative design to transform both qualitative and quantitative articles into qualitative findings.
Fourteen studies were included, reporting results based on 4,833 participants, 3,017 men and 1,816 women, whose mean age was approximately 49 years. From these results, we extracted 75 individual findings, which we then divided into five categories of factors associated with anxiety and depression both before and after undergoing spine surgery: pain, information, disability, employment, and mental health.
Five categories of interacting factors that influenced symptoms of anxiety and depression both before and after surgery were identified: pain, lack of information, disability, return to work, and mental health. Information appears to have a regulating effect on anxiety and depression.
Translated title of the contributionAngst og depression i forbindelse med spinale operationer - et systematisk integrativt review
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Spine Journal
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1272-1285
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • disease, health science and nursing


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