Blood and Marrow Transplantation

Also known as: blood and or bone marrow transplant, hematopoietic stem cell transplant.

What is blood and marrow transplantation?

The Hematopoietic stem cells are the cells within the bone marrow that produce new blood for the body. A blood or bone marrow transplantation is a procedure of replacing bone marrow which is either not producing blood cells, producing abnormal cells or replaced by abnormal cells. It is also used to replace missing enzymes or other proteins from inside the blood cells.

What happens during the procedure?

First, the body has to be prepared for the new Hematopoietic stem cells from the blood or the marrow. This is done with medication that either destroy or decrease the blood cells. Then the Stem Cells for blood or marrow are being infused  through the IV without surgery (similar to blood transfusion). Following the infusion there will be several weeks before the new bone marrow is working, during which you will have to stay in the hospital to monitor for possible complications. Following recovery from the transplant, you will be discharged from the hospital, but will have to continue and be be monitored by the medical team. The immune system will take a few months to recover, so you will get specific instructions regarding food, activity and exposure during the months following the transplant.

Is any special preparation needed?

A number of tests, and procedures are required in order to prepare for the actual blood and marrow transplantation.

What are the risk factors?

A weakened immune system, infections, stem cell rejection, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth sores, skin rashes, hair loss, liver damage and other organs damage are all possible complications of blood and marrow transplantation. Patients typically have to stay in the hospital for several weeks or months to ensure that the transplant was successful.

There are specific risks that are associated with certain types of transplant. Such as patients who receive the marrow from another individual, may develop graft-versus-host disease.

Reviewed by: Kamar Godder, MD

This page was last updated on: 8/16/2018 3:22:08 PM

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