Research: GROSS and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 104

Abstract

GROSS and co-workers, College of Pharmacy and School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, USA, have conducted a pilot study on the use of mindfulness meditation to reduce symptoms after organ transplant.

Background

People who have undergone a solid organ transplant require lifelong immune suppression with all its potentially distressing side effects and complications. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of mindfulness-based stress reduction to decrease symptoms of depression, anxiety and sleep disturbance, and to improve quality of life in these patients.

Methodology

In this longitudinal study, 20 patients who had received a transplant of kidney, lung, or pancreas were enrolled. They attended a mindfulness-based stress reduction class for 2.5 hours weekly for 8 weeks. Home practice, targeted to be 45 minutes daily for 5 days a week, was monitored. Depression, anxiety, and sleep dysfunction were assessed at baseline, post treatment and at 3-months follow-up.

Results

Symptoms of depression and sleep disturbance were improved post treatment (p = 0.006 and 0.011, respectively). At 3 months, improvements in sleep continued, and a significant improvement in anxiety was seen (p = 0.043). The scores for both anxiety and sleep disturbance showed a linear dose-response curve with practice time. Depression scores showed a quadratic relationship with practice time and at 3 months were back to baseline. Global and health-related quality of life measures were not affected.

Conclusion

A randomized trial should be done to collect better data and correct for effects of group support and instructor attention and overcome the limitations of sample size and follow-up time. It seems justified to conduct such a trial as symptom distress in transplant recipients appears to respond to mindfulness-based stress reduction.

References

Gross CR, Kreitzer MJ, Russas V, Treesak C, Frazier PA, Hertz MI. Mindfulness meditation to reduce symptoms after organ transplant: a pilot study. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 10 (3): 58-66, May-Jun 2004.

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