In a bone marrow transplant, healthy stem cells are placed in your body to help your bone marrow start to work right.
If the stem cells came from your own blood or bone marrow (autologous transplant), you may be able to receive part or even all of your treatment in an outpatient clinic. If you need to be in a hospital, you will not usually have to stay longer than 3 weeks.
If the stem cells came from another person (allogeneic transplant), you may spend 4 weeks or longer in the hospital. About 1 out of 4 people need to be readmitted within the first 3 months because of problems that may occur.
When you receive someone else's stem cells, you need treatment with medicines to prevent your immune system from attacking the donor stem cells. You may also take medicine to help prevent the donor cells from attacking your body. Most people who do not have an immune system reaction take these medicines for 2 to 6 months.
Problems from a stem cell transplant may include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, mouth sores, hair loss, bleeding, and infection, such as pneumonia. A severe, often life-threatening infection can develop after a stem cell transplant. You will need to take antibiotics for several months to prevent infection.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to feel better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: September 19, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology
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