Background: Patients with beta-thalassemia (BT) are susceptible to psychological disorders such as depression. The present study was conducted to estimate the pooled prevalence of depression among patients with BT in Iran.
Methods: Domestic and international databases were searched for relevant articles published from 1991 until June 2019. We searched international databases such as Scopus, ISI, and Embase; Iranian databases such as SID, Magiran, and IranDoc; and Google Scholar and PubMed search engines. The MeSH keywords used were “depression”, “mental health”, “depressive disorder”, “thalassemia”, “beta-thalassemia major”, “prevalence”, “epidemiology”, and “Iran”. Relevant cross-sectional or cohort studies were included in the analysis. Cochran’s Q test and the I2 index were used to assess heterogeneity. The pooled prevalence and its 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated using “metaprop” commands in Stata 14. In cases where the I2 statistic was greater than 50%, the random-effects model was used.
Results: Eighteen eligible studies were included. The pooled prevalence of depression was 42% (95% CI: 33% to 52%), whereas the pooled prevalence of mild, moderate, severe, and extremely severe depression was 16% (95% CI: 11% to 22%), 13% (95% CI: 9% to 18%), 13% (95% CI: 9% to 17%), and 3% (95% CI: 0% to 8%), respectively. The pooled prevalence of depression in moderate- and high-quality studies was 45% (95% CI: 29% to 61%) and 39% (95% CI: 27% to 51%), respectively.
Conclusion: The high prevalence of depression highlights the urgent need for the establishment of interventions for the prevention, early detection, and treatment of depression among Iranian patients with BT.