Bone Marrow Transplant Side Effects and Risks

Risks and Side Effects

A bone marrow transplant is considered a major medical procedure and increases your risk of experiencing:

. A drop in blood pressure

. A headache

. Nausea

. Pain

. Shortness of breath

. Chills

. A fever

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The above symptoms are typically short-lived, but a bone marrow transplant can cause complications. Your chances of developing these complications depend on several factors, including:

. Your age

. Your overall health

. The disease you’re being treated for

. The type of transplant you’ve received

Complications can be mild or very serious, and they can include:

. Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), which is a condition in which donor cells attack your body.

. Graft failure, which occurs when transplanted cells don’t begin producing new cells as planned.

. Bleeding in the lungs, brain, and other parts of the body

. Cataracts, which is characterized by clouding in the lens of the eye

. Damage to vital organs

. Early menopause

. Anemia, which occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells.

. Infections

. Nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting

. Mucositis, which is a condition that causes inflammation and soreness in the mouth, throat, and stomach.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have. They can help you weigh the risks and complications against the potential benefits of this procedure.

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Graft-versus-host disease: A potential risk when stem cells come from donors

If you receive a transplant that uses stem cells from a donor (allogeneic transplant), you may be at risk of developing graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). This condition occurs when the donor stem cells that make up your new immune system see your body's tissues and organs as something foreign and attack them.

GVHD may happen at any time after your transplant. Many people who have an allogeneic transplant get GVHD at some point. The risk of GVHD is a bit greater if the stem cells come from an unrelated donor, but it can happen to anyone who gets a bone marrow transplant from a donor.

There are two kinds of GVHD: acute and chronic. Acute GVHD usually happens earlier, during the first months after your transplant. It typically affects your skin, digestive tract or liver. Chronic GVHD typically develops later and can affect many organs.

Chronic GVHD signs and symptoms include:

. Joint or muscle pain

. Shortness of breath

. Persistent cough

. Vision changes, such as dry eyes

. Skin changes, including scarring under the skin or skin stiffness

. Rash

. Yellow tint to your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice)

. Dry mouth

. Mouth sores

. Diarrhea

. Nausea

. Vomiting



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