Possible Risk Factors with Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplants
Bone marrow and stem cell transplants have been done countless times already and it has helped save a lot of lives worldwide.
Autologous transplants- where a person is extracted for their own stem cells and later used for transplantation, seems to be the best suitable treatment option for curing some forms of cancer and other medical conditions.
Because the bone marrow and stem cells are extracted directly from the patient, it provides the lowest chance of contracting any side effects or infections.
But, it is not all the time that Autologous transplants are successful. In case it fails, doctors would have to resort to giving the patient an allogeneic transplant.
This procedure requires the help of a donor as they will be extracted for some of their bone marrow and stem cells. Once that is done, it is concentrated first and then injected in the patient to start the healing process.
For the most part, both of these transplant options work pretty well and patients will then be nursed back to full health after a year or so.
That being said, since this is a medical procedure, there is always going to be some risks involved. Here are the possible things that you can expect from bone marrow and stem cell transplants:
Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD)
This is common in allogeneic transplants because both the bone marrow and stem cells do not come directly from the patient.
GVHD usually occurs within a few months after the transplant, but it is also possible that it can occur a few years after as well.
The main reason why you transplant the bone marrow or stem cells into the patient’s body is so that it helps “trigger” the production of blood cells.
Because it produces new white blood cells, it also creates an entirely new immune system in the process. The immune system might attack the existing organs in the body which is why GVHD can be a life-threatening disease.
Some symptoms include:
- Dry and Flaky Skin
- Skin Rashes
- Dry Eyes
- Joint Pains
- Shortness of Breath
In the event of extreme comfort, call your doctor immediately.
Reduced Blood Cell Count
Before the transplant, the patient must undergo chemotherapy that kills cancer cells, but with a major downside of killing your own healthy cells as well.
That being said, if you experience anemia or excessive bleeding, this means that your red blood cells and platelet counts are pretty low.
If there is a presence or signs of infection, it is an indication that your body is low on white blood cells. Again, call the attention of your doctor so that these things can be addressed.
Bone marrow and stem cell transplants are proven to be relatively safe, although there is always a possibility of side effects and other risk factors involved since it is a medical procedure.
Any signs of extreme discomfort are an indication of complications that are borne from the transplant procedure. In the event that this happens, be sure to contact the physician that did the transplant procedure immediately.