Needing an organ transplant can be incredibly stressful. In addition to dealing with a life-threatening chronic disease such as liver cancer, kidney failure or pulmonary fibrosis, people have to endure the difficult process of being evaluated for organ transplantation. Many patients with life-threatening chronic medical conditions develop psychiatric conditions such as major depression and anxiety disorders which can compromise their ability to participate in the complex medical care and medication regimen required to prevent rejection of the transplanted organ. Integrating mental health care is crucial for an organ transplantation to be successful.
Department faculty members Drs. Dimitry Davydow and Ty Lostutter work with Transplant Services at UWMC to identify patients who are struggling with psychiatric illnesses as they go through the organ transplant process. They provide guidance to transplant colleagues, evidence-based treatments (e.g., pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy) to patients, and input into candidate selection. Dr. Davydow has collaborated closely with the liver and lung transplant programs in the development and implementation of a psychiatric and substance use screening assessment for all new transplant referrals as well as systematic depression screening for all lung transplant recipients. In addition, Drs. Davydow and Lostutter work with potential kidney and living liver donors, and work closely with the new vascularized composite allograft (e.g., face, limb) transplant program.