Our bone marrow has an important and significant role to play. It aids the production of healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and hemoglobin. There are many people who suffer from bone marrow disorders. This leads to the disruption of normal production of blood cells in the body. This could lead to a number of problems including anemia, reduced capacity of the body in fighting off and protecting against infections, inability of the body to help blood clotting in case of injuries due to insufficient platelets and other such problems. When medications and other forms of treatment cannot solve the problem, bone marrow transplantation could be the only option. We will try to understand more about bone marrow transplant procedure so that our readers are able to get some basic ideas about it.
Types of Bone Marrow Transplants
Bone marrow transplants are classified into two major categories. They are autologous transplants and allogeneic transplants.
Autologous transplants are about using the own cell of a person. This form of transplant requires harvesting of the cells before various medical processes like chemotherapy or radiation. These processes often damage and kill healthy cells and therefore bone marrow transplant procedure could help in reducing the complications associated with radiation and chemotherapy. GVHD or Graft Versus Host Disease is a common risk associated with any type of bone transplant including autologous transplants.
Allogeneic transplants on the other hand involve the use of bone marrow cells from a donor. The donor must have a close genetic match. Compatible relatives is the best option, though matching bone marrow cells can also be found from many donor registries. This form of bone marrow transplant procedure is followed when the bone marrow has stopped functioning or is not functioning properly. Here also there is a risk of GVHD and other problems.
How to Prepare for Bone Marrow Transplants
The whole process of bone marrow transplants may take around a week. Adequate preparation must be made and the family members must be available close to the patient. The patient should also ensure that the insurance related matters are updated and if there are pets and children they also must be adequately taken care of.
When the actual transplantation happens, the immunity system of the body will be compromised. Therefore, the patients are made to stay in a special section of hospitals that are reserved for people who are receiving bone marrow transplants. This reduces the risk of infection quite significantly. Leukapheresis is the most commonly used method of bone marrow transplant. During this procedure, the donor is giving some intravenous medication. This medication helps the stem cells to move from the bone marrow to the blood cells. Blood is then drawn out from the donor through an intravenous procedure. The machine that does the job also has the capability of separating white blood cells from others.
The recipient will have a needle implanted on the upper right side of the heart. This needle is called a CVC or central venous catheter. The fluid that contains the new stem cells flow into the heart directly after which they disperse to various parts of the body. They find their new home in the bone marrow cells where they begin to grow.
The Final Word
Though bone marrow transplantation is a complicated process, it might become necessary and unavoidable in many situations. The success rates are quite good though risks of infections and rejections are very much there.
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Gift of Life Marrow Registry Address: 800 Yamato Rd suite 101 Boca Raton, FL Phone: (800) 962-7769