Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Does preoperative depression and/or serotonin transporter gene polymorphism predict outcome after laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
  1. Barry Wright1,
  2. David Alexander2,
  3. Assad Aghahoseini2
  4. York Surgical Outcomes Research Team
    1. 1Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, York, UK
    2. 2York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, York, UK
    1. Correspondence to Professor Barry Wright; barry.wright1{at}


    Objective To determine whether preoperative psychological depression and/or serotonin transporter gene polymorphism are associated with poor outcomes after the common procedure of laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

    Design Patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy were genotyped for the serotonin transporter gene 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and assessed for psychological morbidity before and 6 weeks after surgery. The main outcome was postoperative depression; secondary outcomes included fatigue, perceived pain, quality of life and subjective perception about return to usual.

    Results Full genetic and psychological data were obtained from 273 out of 330 patients consented to the study (82% female). Significantly fewer people with preoperative depression (Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) score >5) had returned to employment (57% vs 86%, p<0.001) or made a full recovery (11% vs 44%, p<0.001) 6 weeks after surgery. Independent predictors for subjective return to usual after surgery included preoperative depression, body mass index and postoperative pain scores. Independent predictors of postoperative depression included preoperative antidepressant use and preoperative depression. SS genotype was associated with use of antidepressants preoperatively and higher anxiety levels after surgery. However, it was not associated with other salient postoperative psychosocial outcomes.

    Conclusions Depressive psychological morbidity preoperatively, pain and body mass index appear to be important factors in predicting recovery after this common surgical procedure. There may be a place to include preoperative brief psychological screening to enable targeted support. Our results suggest that the serotonin transporter gene is unlikely to be a useful clinical predictor of outcome in this group.

    Trial registration number ISRCTN40219584.


    This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.