Bone Marrow Transplant | CureSearch

By Dr. Matthew Watson

Before the transplant admission:

When the healthcare team decides that BMT is the best treatment option for your child, they will schedule a lengthy conversation with you to explain the procedure. They will explain the many risks associated with BMT, as well as what you can expect before, during, and after the transplant.

Your child will undergo testing to make sure he/she is healthy enough to withstand the rigors of transplant. Testing will include evaluation of the heart function with electrocardiogram (ECG) and kidney and liver function, and infection status. Depending upon the disease, a bone marrow aspirate and spinal tap may be performed.

When your child is deemed healthy enough for BMT, physicians will usually insert a central line catheter that allows easy access to a large vein in the chest. The catheter will be used to deliver the new stem cells, as well as blood, antibiotics, and other medications during treatment.

Preparation Before Transplant:

Your child will be given preparative treatment, called conditioning before the transplant. Conditioning includes high doses of chemotherapy and sometimes, radiation of the whole body. The type and purpose of conditioning depends upon your childs underlying diagnosis but may include:

Commonly used drugs include:

The Transplant

Once conditioning is complete, stem cells are given through a catheter. This is very similar to a blood transfusion. After traveling through the bloodstream to the bone marrow, the transplanted stem cells will begin to make red and white blood cells, and platelets.

It can take between 14 and 30 days for enough blood cells, particularly white blood cells, to be created so the body can fight infection. The identification of new blood cells and an increase in white blood cells following BMT is called engraftment. Until then, your child will be at a high risk for infection, anemia, and bleeding. Your child will remain in the hospital until he or she is well enough for discharge.

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Bone Marrow Transplant | CureSearch

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