People with depression are more likely to be hospitalized with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and bacterial pneumonia, that might have been prevented with timely outpatient medical care, according to research published in the journal BMJ Open

Dimitry S. Davydow, MD, MPH, of the University of Washington School of Medicine, and colleagues, examined the health records of 5 million Danish citizens. About 26% had been diagnosed with depression or were taking an antidepressant during the study period from 2005 through 2013.

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The goal of the study was to find out whether depressed individuals were more likely to be hospitalized for preventable conditions or more likely to return to the hospital within 30 days of discharge.

Patients with depression were 2.35 times more likely to be hospitalized for a preventable illness than those without depression. After accounting for socioeconomic factors, other illnesses, and how often they visited their primary care physician, those with depression were 1.45 times more likely to have a preventable hospitalization.

In addition, depressed people were 1.21 times more likely to be rehospitalized within 30 days for the same ailment, and 1.19 times more likely to return for a different one.

Lack of access to primary care was ruled out as the primary reason for the hospitalization since Denmark has universal health care.

“One solution may be to do a better job integrating mental health services into primary care settings,” Dr Davydow said in a statement. “That way patients with depression can obtain psychiatric care more easily and their mental health care better incorporated into their overall health care.”


1. Davydow DS, Fenger-Grøn M, Riisgaard Ribe A, et al. Depression and risk of hospitalisations and rehospitalisations for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions in Denmark: a population-based cohort study. BMJ Open. 2015;5:12 e009878 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009878.

This article originally appeared on Infectious Disease Advisor