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Structured, empirically supported psychological interventions are lacking for patients who require organ transplantation. This stage IA psychotherapy development project developed and tested the feasibility, acceptability, tolerability, and preliminary efficacy of an 8-week group cognitive behavioral stress management intervention adapted for patients with end-stage liver disease awaiting liver transplantation.
Twenty-nine English-speaking United Network for Organ Sharing–registered patients with end-stage liver disease from a single transplantation center enrolled in 8-week, group cognitive-behavioral liver stress management and relaxation training intervention adapted for patients with end-stage liver disease. Patients completed pre- and postintervention surveys that included the Beck Depression Inventory II and the Beck Anxiety Inventory. Feasibility, acceptability, tolerability, and preliminary efficacy were assessed.
Attendance rate was 69.40%. The intervention was rated as “good” to “excellent” by 100% of participants who completed the postintervention survey in teaching them new skills to relax and to cope with stress, and by 94.12% of participants in helping them feel supported while waiting for a liver transplant. No adverse events were recorded over the course of treatment. Attrition was 13.79%. Anxious and depressive symptoms were not statistically different after the intervention.
Significance of results
The liver stress management and relaxation training intervention is feasible, acceptable, and tolerable to end-stage liver disease patients within a transplant clinic setting. Anxious and depressive symptoms remained stable postintervention. Randomized controlled trials are needed to study the intervention's effectiveness in this population.
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