Original Article| Volume 38, ISSUE 10, P2863-2872, October 2022

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Clinically Depressed Patients Having Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Show Improved but Inferior Rate of Achieving Minimum Clinically Important Difference for Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Compared With Situationally Depressed or Nondepressed Patients


      To determine whether the preoperative diagnosis of depression predicted worse postoperative outcomes, including physical therapy (PT) compliance, return-to-sport, and patient-reported outcomes using the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction.


      A multisurgeon series of consecutive patients who had undergone ACL reconstruction with minimum 2-year follow-up were included. Chart review was conducted to determine depression diagnosis status, demographic data, rehabilitation PT compliance, return to sports, and patient-reported outcome data using PROMIS. Patients who met the PROMIS threshold for mild depression but did not carry a clinical diagnosis of depression were classified as “situationally depressed.”


      Ninety-five of 115 consecutive patients (81%) met inclusion criteria with an average follow-up of 34 ± 1.9 months. Fourteen patients (15%) had a preoperative diagnosis of depression, whereas 21 (22%) were considered situationally depressed. Clinically depressed patients had a greater rate of PT noncompliance (33.2% ± 17.6% vs 21.9% ± 12.6%; P = .02) and a lower postoperative PROMIS Physical Function (50.8 ± 7.7 vs 57.8 ± 11.0; P = .03 compared with patients without depression. Situationally depressed patients had lower preoperative physical function (35.4 vs 42.5; P = .04) with no differences in postoperative outcomes scores compared to the non-depressed cohort.19/21 (90.5%) of situationally depressed patients had postoperative resolution of their depressive symptoms.


      Situationally depressed patients without a clinical diagnosis of depression can expect significant improvements in both pain and function, as well as a resolution of their depressed mood based on PROMIS scores as they progress through recovery after ACL reconstruction. Clinically depressed patients also experience significant improvements; however, their rate of achieving the minimum clinically important difference for PROMIS outcomes may be less than their nondepressed or situationally depressed counterparts.

      Level of Evidence

      III, prognostic comparative trial.
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