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Contemp Clin Trials. 2017 Jun;57:37-43. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2017.03.014. Epub 2017 Mar 22.

Telephone-adapted Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (tMBSR) for patients awaiting kidney transplantation.

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University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, United States; University of Minnesota School of Nursing, United States; University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality & Healing, United States. Electronic address:
University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, United States.
St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Pharmacy Administration, United States.
University of Minnesota School of Nursing, United States.
University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Department of Nephrology, United States.



Patients with progressive kidney disease experience increasing physiologic and psychosocial stressors and declining health-related quality of life (HRQOL).


We conducted a randomized, active-controlled, open-label trial to test whether a Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program delivered in a novel workshop-teleconference format would reduce symptoms and improve HRQOL in patients awaiting kidney transplantation. Sixty-three transplant candidates were randomized to one of two arms: i) telephone-adapted MBSR (tMBSR, an 8-week program of meditation and yoga); or ii) a telephone-based support group (tSupport). Participants completed self-report questionnaires at baseline, post-intervention, and after 6-months. Anxiety, measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) post-intervention served as the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes included: depression, sleep quality, pain, fatigue, and HRQOL assessed by SF-12 Physical and Mental Component Summaries (PCS, MCS).


55 patients (age 54±12yrs) attended their assigned program (tMBSR, n=27; tSupport, n=28). 49% of patients had elevated anxiety at baseline. Changes in anxiety were small and did not differ by treatment group post-intervention or at follow-up. However, tMBSR significantly improved mental HRQOL at follow-up: +6.2 points on the MCS - twice the minimum clinically important difference (95% CI: 1.66 to 10.8, P=0.01). A large percentage of tMBSR participants (≥90%) practiced mindfulness and reported it helpful for stress management.


Neither mindfulness training nor a support group resulted in clinically meaningful reductions in anxiety. In contrast, finding that tMBSR was more effective than tSupport for bolstering mental HRQOL during the wait for a kidney transplant is encouraging and warrants further investigation. ClinicalTrials.govNCT01254214.


Health-related quality of life (HRQOL); Kidney transplantation; MBSR; Mindfulness; Telemedicine; Telepsychology

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