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Comorbid depression in the medically ill is clinically important. Admission to a general hospital offers an opportunity to identify and initiate treatment for depression. However, we first need to know how common depression is in general hospital inpatients. We aimed to address this question by systematically reviewing the relevant literature.
We reviewed published prevalence studies in any language which had used diagnostic interviews of general hospital inpatients and met basic methodological quality criteria. We focussed on interview-based studies in order to estimate the proportion of patients with a diagnosis of depressive illness.
Of 158 relevant articles, 65 (41%) describing 60 separate studies met our inclusion criteria. The 31 studies that focussed on general medical and surgical inpatients reported prevalence estimates ranging from 5% to 34%. There was substantial, highly statistically significant, heterogeneity between studies which was not materially explained by the covariates we were able to consider. The average of the reported prevalences was 12% (95% CI 10–15), with a 95% prediction interval of 4–32%. The remaining 29 studies, of a variety of specific clinical populations, are described.
The available evidence suggests a likely prevalence high enough to make it worthwhile screening hospital inpatients for depression and initiating treatment where appropriate. Further, higher quality, research is needed to clarify the prevalence of depression in specific settings and to further explore the reasons for the observed heterogeneity in estimates.
Oimenepthah I, better known to us as Seti I, was regarded as a great pharaoh by his contemporaries, although his son Ramesses II would claim greater renown. Seti's tomb was discovered by Belzoni in 1817 and was the first to be found to have extensive decorations throughout. The huge alabaster coffin found in the tomb was sold to Sir John Soane, who held a three-day party upon its arrival at his London house, where it can still be seen. Written by the noted Egyptologist Samuel Sharpe (1799–1881), this illustrated description of the intricately decorated sarcophagus was published in 1864. By the time of his death, Sharpe was regarded in Britain as one of the most important figures in helping to popularise all things Egyptian. With the artist and sculptor Joseph Bonomi (1796–1878), who provided the drawings here, he collaborated in organising the Egyptian court at the Crystal Palace in 1854.