Anxiety and depression in patients with giant cell arteritis

Joana Martins-Martinho, André Ponte, Eduardo Dourado, Nikita Khmelinskii, Sofia C. Barreira, Ana R. Cruz-Machado, Carla Macieira, Vítor Teixeira, Ana M. Rodrigues, Diogo Telles-Correia, João E. Fonseca, Cristina Ponte

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Objectives: To compare the prevalence of anxiety and depression in patients with GCA with that in the general population, using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and to identify independent predictors of these psychiatric manifestations in patients with GCA. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study including all patients diagnosed with GCA followed during 1 year in a vasculitis outpatient clinic. The HADS and 36-item Short Form (SF-36) questionnaires were prospectively collected. Patients’ HADS results were compared with an age- and gender-matched control group. HADS anxiety (HADS-A) and HADS depression (HADS-D) scores between 8 and 10 defined possible anxiety and depression and ≥11 defined probable anxiety and depression, respectively. Results: We included 72 patients and 288 controls. Compared with controls, patients with GCA had a statistically significant higher prevalence of HADS-A ≥8 (48.6% vs 26.4%), HADS-A ≥11 (30.6% vs 12.2%) and HADS-D ≥11 (33.3% vs 18.1%). GCA was an independent predictor of HADS-A ≥8 [odds ratio (OR) 3.3 (95% CI 1.9, 5.9)], HADS-A ≥11 [OR 3.8 (95% CI 2.0, 7.4)] and HADS-D ≥11 [OR 2.6 (95% CI 1.4, 4.7)]. Among patients with GCA, a negative correlation was observed between HADS-A/D and SF-36 mental health scores (r = −0.780 and r = −0.742, respectively). Glucocorticoid therapy was a predictor of HADS-A ≥8 [OR 10.4 (95% CI 1.2, 94.2)] and older age of HADS-D ≥8 [OR 1.2 (95% CI 1.1, 1.3)] and HADS-D ≥11 [OR 1.1 (95% CI 1.0, 1.2)]. Conclusions: Compared with the general population, patients with GCA have a higher prevalence of anxiety and depression and GCA is an independent predictor of these symptoms. Glucocorticoid treatment and older age are predictors of anxiety and depression, respectively, in patients with GCA.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberrkae013
JournalRheumatology Advances in Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • anxiety
  • depression
  • giant cell arteritis
  • Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale


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