Bone Marrow Transplant

November 12, 2012

Bone Marrow Transplant

Bone marrow is the soft tissue found inside of the bones. When cells within the tissue become damaged, a bone marrow transplant is required to replace them with healthy ones. Before the transplant chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be administered to kill off any cancer cells. The bone marrow transplant can then go ahead in one of three ways. The first way is called an autologous bone marrow transplant and healthy stem cells are removed from the patient before the chemo or radiation treatment and then put back in afterwards. This method is known as a rescue transplant. The second way is called an allogeneic bone marrow transplant and in this procedure stem cells are taken from a donor. The donor needs to have the same genetic make-up as the patient so that there blood matches. It is common for a family member such as sibling, parent or child to be the donor but it is also possible to find a match from a donor who is not related. The third method is known as an umbilical cord blood transplant. This is when stem cells are removed from the umbilical cord of a newborn baby. The stem cells are then stored until they are required for transplant. A bone marrow transplant may be needed if you have certain cancers of the blood such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma or a disease, which is affecting the production of stem cells including sickle cell anaemia, congenital neutropenia or an immunodeficiency syndrome. Having previously undergone chemotherapy, which destroyed bone marrow cells in the process, may be another cause.

There are some risks and symptoms that can occur after a bone marrow transplant. Some of the more common ones include pain, chills, a chest pain, nausea, headaches and a shortness of breath. Possible complications that can occur after the procedure include infections, internal bleeding, anaemia, damage to internal organs, cataracts, early onset of the menopause and graft failure, which is when the new sells do not settle in the body. Graft versus host disease is another complication, which occurs when the donor cells attack the patientÂ’s body. Delayed growth can also occur in a child who has had a bone marrow transplant.

Before the procedure many test will done, as well as a physical exam and a complete run down of medical history. Two tubes will be inserted into a blood vessel in the neck just before the transplant, which will allow fluids and nutrients to be inserted into the body. You should make plans before the procedure to have someone take you home and help you with household chores, take care of the children and help with general day-to-day duties. Make sure that you have arranged to take leave from work.

The amount of time that you have to stay in the hospital after a bone marrow transplant varies depending on the type of procedure, how much chemotherapy or radiation therapy you received and the kind of cancer or illness you have. Whilst in the hospital you will be kept isolated to limit the chances of developing infection. Depending on a number of factors a bone marrow transplant may partially or completely cure the illness. If the transplant fails or complications occur, it can lead to death.

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