Objective: Identifying prognostic factors for work ability in sicklisted employees with myocardial infarction (MI), chronic low back pain (cLBP) and major depressive disorder (MDD) in order to establish an objective basis for work ability evaluation.
Design: Systematic literature search in PubMed database (1 January 1990 to 1 July 2006) with the Yale prognostic research filter. Inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) work-disabled employees; (2) MI, cLBP or MDD patients; (3) longitudinal designs; and (4) return to work or compensation status as outcome measure.
Results: Four studies on MI met the inclusion criteria and described the following prognostic factors for work ability in the acute phase of the disease and disablement: lower age; male gender; no financial basis on which to retire; lower physical job demands; fewer somatic complaints; no anxiety attacks; no diabetes; no heart failure; no atrial fibrillation; no Q waves; and a short time interval between MI and presentation at the occupational medicine clinic. Two studies on cLBP met the inclusion criteria and described the following prognostic factors for work ability after 3 months’ work disablement: lower age; male gender; no treatment before sick listing; surgery in the first year of sick listing; being a breadwinner; less pain; better general health; higher job satisfaction; lower physical and/or psychological demands at work; and a higher decision latitude at work. No relevant MDD studies were found.
Conclusion: In the earlier phases of work disablement in MI and cLBP patients, only a few studies describe disease-specific, environmental and personal prognostic factors for return to work. No studies describe prognostic factors for MDD. More evidence is needed on the topic of prognostic factors for return to work in employees with chronic diseases.
- myocardial infarction
- chronic low back pain
- major depressive disorder
- work ability evaluation
- prognostic factors
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According to the regulations of the ethics committee, ethics approval was not required because the study did not concern patients.