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Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT), is a medical procedure used to replace the diseased bone marrow of a patient with a healthy one. It is the soft and spongy tissue matter which resides inside the bones and makes up the blood stem cells.

These cells turn into blood cells including:

  • White blood cells to fight infections.

  • Red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.

  • Platelets to control bleeding.

 BMT involves blood stem cell transplantation, stem cells are responsible for fighting infections, bleeding disorders, or anemia.

 

The Recipients Can Return Home Right After The Procedure

With the advancements in technology and medicine, it is now possible for a bone marrow transplant patient to return home right after the procedure. Hence, staying for a month at the hospital or even overnight after the procedure is no longer a requirement. Though the transplant procedure happens at the hospital, the patients can receive follow-up care on an outpatient basis. This holds true for both the donor and the recipient.

Bone Marrow Transplant Treats More Than Just Leukaemia

There is a common misconception floating in the interwebs which claim that bone marrow transplant is a treatment exclusively for leukaemia. On quite the contrary, with BMT treatment of many types of cancer, including multiple types of leukaemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma is possible. The bone marrow transplant is also a part of the treatment regime for syndromes like sickle cell disease, which is inherited or developed after birth.

Several Types of Bone Marrow Transplants

The most common types of BMT are Autologous bone marrow transplant, Allogeneic bone marrow transplant, and Umbilical cord blood transplant. The other type of transplant is the Syngeneic BMT, in which the donor is a twin of the recipient.

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Types of Stem Cells

Each year, there are over 8 lakh cancer cases in India. The mortality rates have reached up to 5.5 lakh annually. According to a survey from 2014, the number of cancer cases in India is on a steep rise. It is important to take a look at these numbers because cancer is one of the major reasons why a patient would require a bone marrow transplant. A condition like leukemia is one among many which require a BMT.

It involves replacing the old bone marrow with news blood stem cells. These stem cells are of three types and they are responsible for fighting infections, bleeding disorders, or anemia.

  • White blood cells to fight infections.

  • Red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.

  • Platelets to control bleeding.

BMT Types

A few uncommon facts about the bone marrow transplant are that it is not exclusively for leukemia. On quite the contrary, with BMT treatment of many types of cancer, including multiple types of leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma is possible. A bone marrow transplant is also a part of the treatment regime for syndromes like sickle cell disease, which is inherited or developed after birth. In addition, unlike other medical procedures, a patient receiving BMT can go home as soon as the procedure is complete. Nowadays, medicines have made it possible for a bone marrow transplant patient to return home right after the procedure. Moreover, there are more than just one type of procedures and some of them are discussed below:

  • Autologous Transplant: The term auto means self. Stem cells are removed from you before you receive high-dose chemotherapy or radiation treatment. The stem cells are stored in a freezer. After high-dose chemotherapy or radiation treatments, your stems cells are put back in your body to make normal blood cells. This is called a rescue transplant.
  • Allogeneic Treatment: The term "Allo" means other. Stem cells are removed from another person, called a donor. Most times, the donor's genes must at least partly match your genes. Special tests are done to see if a donor is a good match for you. A brother or sister is most likely to be a good match. Sometimes parents, children, and other relatives are good matches. Donors who are not related to you, yet still match, may be found through national bone marrow registries. Umbilical cord blood transplant This is a type of allogeneic transplant. Stem cells are removed from a newborn baby's umbilical cord right after birth. The stem cells are frozen and stored until they are needed for a transplant. Umbilical cord blood cells are very immature so there is less of a need for perfect matching. Due to the smaller number of stem cells, blood counts take much longer to recover.

Also, Read about Role of chemotherapy and radiation in Bone Marrow Transplant.

Symptoms of Bone Marrow Transplantation

It is important for a patient to know about various symptoms involved with this condition. Symptoms include nausea, fever, chills, night sweats, severe pain in bones and Drastic Weight Loss. Other symptoms are.

  • Inefficient Blood Clotting - This happens when underdeveloped white blood cells flood the platelets causing a  vulnerable state of bleeding with a slow healing capacity.
  • Catching Constant Infections - White blood cells function to fight off the infections, when underdeveloped WBCs flood the system, they are unequipped to deal with infections.

 

Bone Marrow Transplant Complications

As is the case with any complex medical procedure, there are certain complications and risks involved with a bone marrow transplant. As a result of which, many would recommend to seek a second opinion or even a third before getting a transplant. If it is such a condition which is treatable with medicine, then getting a BMT should be the last resort. So, before getting a transplant one should be aware of the following complications and risks:

  • GVHD - GVHD or graft-versus-host-disease is a condition in which the donor cells do not take well to the recipient body and immediately start attacking it.
  • Mucositis - Mucositis is usually a result of chemo or radiotherapy. In this condition, the mucous membrane lining the digestive tract suffers painful inflammation and ulceration.
  • Bleeding In The Lung - Bleeding in either the lung or other parts of the body occurs due to the fact that the conditioning treatment of bone marrow transplantation adversely affects the body’s ability to make platelets and as already established, platelets are responsible for controlling bleeding.
  • Pacemaker Problems - No matter how precise, a pacemaker is still a machine at the end of all discussions. And it is a commonly known fact that machines are liable to break down. Thus, a pacemaker surgery also involves the risk of malfunction of the pacemaker device. These malfunctions include anything from a failed battery to improper programming of the pacemaker. `
  • Graft Failure - In this condition, the recipient body does not respond well to the donor cells. This is a common condition in a failed transplant case when the patient and the donor is mismatched. Although graft failure is rare, the case with graft failure usually leads to a fatality. It is always a safe bet to get a second opinion for one’s condition. This holds especially true with a procedure as complex as a bone marrow transplant. However, one should not shy away from getting the procedure if need be, either. With the advancement made in medicine, most procedures have a relatively high success rate and are usually cost-efficient. Keeping in mind the fact that one’s health is all the wealth the one earns in one’s lifetime.

References

Disclaimer

The information provided on this webpage contains general information about medical conditions, causes, symptoms & treatments. The information is compiled from open sources that were available to us and is solely for the purpose of general reading & not a result of thorough research or tests conducted in laboratories. Therefore, the contents of this article are neither medical advice nor intended to replace consultation with a medical practitioner, and should not be treated as an alternative to medical diagnosis or treatment from your doctor, or any other healthcare professional.
External links to information and other websites provided here are purely for information purposes and Credihealth does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, genuineness, reliability of such links/websites. Moreover, the information provided hereunder is not intended to be a substitute for getting in touch with emergency healthcare.

BMT involves blood stem cell transplantation, stem cells are responsible for promoting the growth of marrow. It is usually required for leukemia cases.

  • Treatable by medical professional

  • Requires medical diagnosis

  • Requires lab tests and imaging

  • May require general anaesthesia

Treatment of Bone marrow transplantation

It is a medical procedure performed to replace the original bone marrow damaged or destroyed by disease, infection, or chemotherapy. This procedure involves transplanting blood stem cells, which travel to the bone marrow where they produce new blood cells and promote the growth of new marrow.

Symptoms of Bone marrow transplantation

There are quite a few symptoms which point to an irregular or abnormal heartbeat which would ultimately lead to the requirement of a pacemaker surgery. The symptoms of the conditions demanding a pacemaker surgery may vary. With that said, here are the common symptoms.

  • Fluttering sensation in the chest

  • Racing heartbeat or slowed heartbeat

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Lightheadedness

  • Dizziness

 

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