Skip to main content

Emotion/Symptom-focused Engagement for Kidney/Kidney-Pancreas Recipients

Dr. Istvan Mucsi
University Health Network
Kidney Health Research Grant
2021 - 2023

General Audience Summary

Restoring emotional and physical well-being after kidney or pancreas transplant

Nearly half of kidney and pancreas recipients have traumatic stress, depression or anxiety as well as fatigue, pain, nausea and sleep problems after their transplant. These symptoms interfere with the enjoyment of life they expect with a new organ. The symptoms might come from ongoing illnesses, worries about organ rejection, or worries about the donor’s health in case of transplant from a living donor. Currently, many of these symptoms go unnoticed and untreated. Addressing them improves patient-doctor communication, helps patients stick to their treatment plan, and improves their health generally. We have developed a supportive treatment for patients with cancer that combines treatments to manage pain, sleep problems, nausea, shortness of breath with counselling based on cognitive behavioral therapy to help to deal with these and emotional (anxiety, depression) symptoms. Cognitive behavioural therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are related, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap us in bad circles. Cognitive behavioural therapy helps us break overwhelming problems into smaller parts. Getting this kind of therapy is known to help patients with patients deal with their symptoms. In this project, we will adapt this treatment for kidney and pancreas transplant recipients. We will then test to see if it works and if patients and doctors like it. The results and the information gained on how well and easily the treatment can be used routinely in clinics will lead to a bigger study to confirm its usefulness. Eventually, we expect the new treatment to deliver better care by bringing the patient voice to the front of kidney and pancreas transplant care; more satisfaction with care among patients and doctors; better general health after transplant; better enjoyment of life for transplant recipients and caregivers; and cost savings for healthcare systems.