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Anxiety and Depression in Maintenance Dialysis Patients: Preliminary Data of a Cross-sectional Study and Brief Literature Review



Anxiety and depression affect the quality of life of maintenance dialysis (MD) patients. There is little information concerning the extent to which the experience of individual hemodialysis treatments engenders anxiety in this patient population. This preliminary study examined the prevalence and severity of anxiety and depression in MD patients and the incidence of anxiety related to dialysis treatment.


One hundred seventy patients, 155 undergoing maintenance hemodialysis and 15 undergoing chronic peritoneal dialysis, were examined. Inclusion criteria included dialysis vintage of at least 6 months. Patients completed the Beck Anxiety Inventory and Beck Depression Inventory and questionnaires that examined their feelings of anxiety related to individual hemodialysis sessions.


Patients' mean age was 56 ± standard deviation of 16 years; dialysis vintage, 55 ± 48 months; 46% were female. The data confirmed a high prevalence of anxiety and depression in MD patients. Many MD patients become anxious, often severely, by merely going for routine hemodialysis treatment and also owing to such common events as being connected to the hemodialyzer by a new person or on hearing their hemodialyzer alarm sound.


Anxiety and depression are common in MD patients. Many patients who are well established on MD experience anxiety during individual maintenance hemodialysis treatments.

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