Is there an important role for anxiety and depression in the elderly patients with critical limb ischemia, especially after major amputation?

Chloe M. L. Peters*, Jolanda de Vries, Stijn L. Steunenberg, Gwan H. Ho, Paul Lodder, Lijckle van der Laan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)



In patients with critical limb ischemia, an association is assumed between depression and worse outcome for morbidity, such as major limb amputation. After major amputation, anxiety and depression are common. We aimed to determine the association of depressive and anxiety symptoms in the elderly with critical limb ischemia, especially after major limb amputation.


Patients with critical limb ischemia aged >= 70 years were included in this prospective observational cohort study between January 2012 and February 2016 in 2 Dutch hospitals. After a multidisciplinary vascular conference, patients were divided into 4 treatment groups: endovascular revascularization, surgical revascularization, conservative therapy, and primary major amputation. In a 1-year follow-up period, depression and anxiety were measured 4 times using the Dutch versions of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.


One Hundred eighty-seven patients were included. Within 1 year, 44 patients underwent a major limb amputation. Lower amputation-free survival did not differ significantly for patients with versus without greater anxiety (X-2 [1] = 0.689, P = 0.407) and also not for patients with versus without more depressive symptoms (X-2 [1] = 0.614, P = 0.433). For both groups, there were no significant changes in anxiety scores over time. After a median follow-up time of 336.5 days and 365 days, depressive symptoms significantly decreased in amputees, respectively, 8.5 vs. 4.5 (95% CI 1.76-7.48, P = 0.002) and 8.5 vs. 4.3 (95% CI 0.61-9.82, P = 0.027) when compared to the baseline measurement. Similarly, nonamputees had significantly lower overall score for depressive symptoms after a median follow-up time of 365 days (10.1 vs. 4.1, 95% CI 4.49 to 6.90, P <0.001).


In the opinion of the medical health care provider, amputation is a severe and unwanted end phase of critical limb ischemia. However, depressive symptoms seem to decrease over time and anxiety symptoms do not seem to be affected in patients after major limb amputation. In addition, patients with greater trait anxiety or more depressive symptoms at baseline did not have significantly higher amputation rates. These findings are similar to the course of depressive and anxiety symptoms for the elderly patients without major limb amputation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-150
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 2019



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