While bone marrow transplant can help save lives, it does come with its own share of problems, challenges and side effects. Bone marrow transplant also referred to as BMT is known by another name too. It is a stem cell transplant match. It is considered to be an effective treatment for some types of blood cancers, anemic conditions, and leukemia. However, there is no doubt that BMT has its own side effects. It would be difficult to straightjacket the side effects across all patients. It could be different for different types of patients and would depend on various factors such as general health, type of transplant and various other factors. In many cases, the side effects could reduce and go away with time.
However, there could be some permanent side effects. Therefore before going in for a bone marrow transplant, you have to talk to your health team and be aware of the possible side effects. The risk versus benefit study has to be done carefully and your team of doctors would certainly be the best for doing such a study. Side effects can broadly be classified as short term side effects and long term side effects. Let us try and spend some time on the possible side effects. We are sure the information will help in leukemia marrow transplant and other such situations.
Auto Transplant Side Effects
Before BMT is done, the patients will receive chemotherapy and this could be with or without radiation therapy. Hence many side effects may originate because of the chemotherapy. While there are different side effects possible, the most serious are the risk of infections and this is generally caused because of low levels of white blood cells. Chemotherapy does weakens the immune system of the body and therefore the body is at a higher risk of infections caused by bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. The risk of infection continues to be there even after BMT is completed. In most cases, the immune system never gets back to normalcy. Many patients are put on antibacterial and antiviral drug for almost a year and for many more years in many cases. Most of the infections are, however, treatable with modern-day antibiotics.
Other Possible Side Effects
Apart from the above, patients also suffer from other common side effects such as vomiting, nausea, fatigue, mouth sores, low platelet count (leading to increased risk of external and internal bleeding) and low levels of red blood cells leading to anemia. Some people also complain of diarrhea and this could lead to dehydration and other secondary complications.
Long Term Side Effects
There are also risks of long term side effects. This could happen even after months or years of BMT. The most common long term side effects are infertility, especially for a woman, cataracts in the eyes, early onset of menopause for women, lung complications, bone damage and also the risk of developing some other forms of cancer.
Hence the above factors and possible side effects must always be kept in mind while putting a patient through bone marrow transplant. As mentioned earlier, the benefits of BMT must far outweigh the side effects failing which it might not be the right approach.
Gift of Life Marrow Registry Address: 800 Yamato Rd suite 101 Boca Raton, FL Phone: (800) 962-7769