All about Bone Marrow Transplant

A bone marrow is the fatty, spongy tissue inside the bone that creates red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in the blood. It also contains Hematopoietic stem cells which are immature blood forming cells that will mature and make new blood cells throughout the course of a person’s life

Bone Marrow Transplant

A bone marrow transplant, also known as hematopoietic stem cell transplant, is a medical procedure to replace damaged bone marrow with new stem cells to stimulate the growth of new bone marrow. Chemotherapy, radiation, or both is done before the transplant. The three types of bone marrow transplants are autologous bone marrow transplant, allogeneic bone marrow transplant and umbilical cord blood transplant.

Autologous bone marrow transplant is also called rescue transplant. It uses healthy stem cells from your body which are put back in after chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

Allogeneic bone marrow transplant uses healthy stem cells from a donor. thegenes of the donormust match your genes in a way, even if its partially. Blood relatives always make the best match

Umbilical cord blood transplant is a form of allogeneic transplant that uses a newborn baby’s umbilical cord. The stem cells are frozen until needed for a transplant. Blood cells from an  umbilical cord blood cells are not fully developed hence no need for perfect match.

Who needs a bone marrow transplant?

A person whose bone marrow is not functioning properly as a result of cancer treatment, a chronic infection or a related disease is usually a candidate for a bone marrow transplant. Most bone marrow transplant procedures are performed on persons with any of the following medical conditions:

  • Aplastic anemia, congenital neutropenia, sickle cell anemia, thallasemia,
  • Leukaemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma (cancers of the bone marrow)
  • Damaged bone marrow from chemotheraphy
  • Haematological disorders and related disorders of the immune system

What are the complications involved?

Complications from bone marrow transplants can be life –threatening if not well managed. Major complications include graft-versus-host diseases, infections/sepsis, Hemorrhagic cystitis, mucositis, oral carcinoma, development of new malignancies and veno-occlusive diseases.

Bone marrow transplantis still a dangerous procedure with many possible complications. This explains why it is only advised for patients with fatal diseases. As the rate of survival becomes higher, theprocedure is increasingly been used for hereditary skeletal dysplasias and autoimmune diseases.

Donors are at risk too

Donors risk certain complications based on their characteristics, state of health, the apheresis procedure and colony-stimulating factor used and of course the health care providers. Common donor risks include:

  • Drug risks: adverse effects of drugs used in the course of the procedure include Acute respiratory distress syndrome, allergic reactions, alveolar haemorrhage, Coagulation issues induced genetic changes in mononuclear cells, inflammation of atherosclerotic plaques splenic rupture and a post-procedure dip in platelet and haemoglobin levels.
  • Access risks: adverse effects as a result of drawing blood from in patients veins include  multiple line attempts, nausea, numbness and tingling.
  • Clinical observations: These include bone pain from filgrastim treatment. This pain usually responds to analgesics and recedes over time. Donation is not advised for persons with history of bone pain. Other observations include headache, fatigue, myalgia, and insomnia.

Extreme reactions such as deep vein thrombosis, myocardial infarction, pulmonary edema and splenic rupture have been recorded in few cases

Learn more about bone marrow transplant in Israel here.

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