What is a bone marrow transplant?
A bone marrow transplant is a treatment that replaces damaged or diseased bone marrow with healthy marrow, which is a spongy structure inside your bones where your body manufactures and stores blood cells.
Your blood cells begin as very immature cells, known as hematopoietic stem cells. They leave your bone marrow and enter your blood after maturing. A stem cell transplant is another name for a bone marrow transplant.
When your bone marrow is damaged, it produces fewer blood cells and less immune cells. Certain disorders and cancers can be cured with a transplant. It also implies a lengthy recovery period and possible significant side effects. Your doctor may go over the transplant's advantages and cons with you.
Why Might You Need a Bone Marrow Transplant?
When a person's marrow isn't healthy enough to function normally, a bone marrow transplant is performed. This could result from chronic infections, illness, or cancer treatment. Some of the causes for a bone marrow transplant are as follows:
- Aplastic anaemia is when the bone marrow ceases to produce new blood cells.
- cancers that affect the bone marrow, such as Leukaemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma, are examples of marrow malignancies.
- Damage of bone marrow due to chemotherapy
- Congenital neutropenia is a hereditary condition that results in recurrent infections.
- Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited blood condition characterized by malformed red blood cells.
- Thalassemia is an inherited blood illness in which the body produces an abnormal form of haemoglobin, a component of red blood cells.
A bone marrow transplant can include several dangers. Some patients have minor difficulties after a bone marrow transplant, while others may have significant complications that necessitate treatment or hospitalization. Complications can sometimes be fatal.
Your risks are determined by various factors, including the disease or condition that necessitated the transplant, the type of transplant, your age, and your overall health.
Complications from a bone marrow transplant may include:
- Graft-versus-host disease (an allogeneic transplant complication)
- Failure of a stem cell grafting
- Organ damage
- New cancer
Your doctor can describe the risks of problems from a bone marrow transplant. You can consider the risks and advantages together to determine whether a bone marrow transplant benefits you.
Types of Bone marrow transplant
Bone marrow transplants procedure are classified into two categories. The cause of the transplant will determine the type used.
- Autologous Transplant
Autologous transplants employ the patient's stem cells. They usually involve extracting your cells before undertaking a cell-damaging therapy such as chemotherapy or radiation. Following treatment, your cells are reintroduced to your body.
This kind of transplant isn't usually possible. It can only be used if your bone marrow is healthy. However, it minimizes the chance of significant problems, such as Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).
- Allogenic transplants
Allogeneic transplants entail the utilization of donor cells. The donor must be genetically compatible. A suitable relative is often the best option, but genetic matches can also be located through a donor registry.
Allogeneic transplants are required if a disorder has compromised your bone marrow cells. They are, however, at a higher risk of some problems, such as GVHD. You'll also likely need medication to suppress your immune system so your body doesn't attack the new cells. This can make you vulnerable to sickness.
An allogeneic transplant's success is determined by the degree to which the donor cells match your own.
How to prepare for Bone marrow transplant?
Pretransplant treatments and tests
A series of tests and procedures can be used to assess your overall health and disease state. In addition, the examinations and procedures guarantee that you are physically prepared for the transplant. The evaluation may take several days or longer.
A long, thin tube (intravenous catheter) will also be inserted into a major vein in your chest or neck. The catheter, also known as a central line, is usually left in place for the duration of your treatment. The central line will be used by the transplant team to inject the transplanted stem cells, medicines, and blood products into your body.
The conditioning processes
- If you are being treated for cancer that has spread to other parts of your body, destroy malignant cells.
- Reduce your immune system's activity.
- Prepare your bone marrow for the arrival of new stem cells.
You will begin the conditioning process after completing the pretransplant exams and procedures. You will get chemotherapy and possibly radiation during conditioning to:
What to expect
During the process of BMT
You have a bone marrow transplant after conditioning. Stem cells are injected through your central line on transplant day.
The transplant infusion is painless. During the whole process, you will be awake.
After the Bone marrow
New stem cells enter your bloodstream and migrate to your bone marrow. After multiplying, they form healthy blood cells. This is engraftment. Your blood cell count typically returns to normal after several weeks. It may take longer for some.
After your bone marrow transplant, you'll have blood and other tests to monitor your status. Complications include nausea and diarrhoea, which may require medication.
After your bone marrow transplant, you'll be closely monitored. Infections or other complications may need a hospital stay of several days. To ensure close monitoring, you must stay near the hospital for weeks or months, depending on the transplant and problems.
You may need transfusions until your bone marrow produces enough red blood cells and platelets.
Your transplant may increase your risk of infections and other consequences for months to years. You'll see your doctor often to check for late issues throughout life.