Sunday, January 13, 2008

How to Prepare for Bone Marrow Transplants


Bone marrow is the site for blood cell reproduction. These cells fight infection, carry oxygen througth the body and clot blood. When the cells in bone marrow stop working or malfunction, a bone marrow transplant is needed. A bone marrow transplant is a fairly effective way to keep patients free of disease for a while. Though it is not a guaranteed success, many patients go into remission.


Difficulty: Moderate



Step One

Decide if you are a candidate for a bone marrow transplant. If you have leukemia, aplastic anemia or deficiency disorders, you may be a candidate for a bone marrow transplant.

Step Two

Know that the type of disease you have, the stage you are in and whether or not you are a participant in a clinical trial will affect how you prepare for bone marrow transplants.

Step Three

Undergo pre-transplant screening tests, such as blood tests, bone marrow tests, CT exams, physical or dental exams, or a central venous catheter. These are usually outpatient procedures.

Step Four

Educate yourself about the process of a bone marrow transplant. Your medical team may lead you and your family through the area of the hospital where your treatment will take place.

Step Five

Prepare your body for a bone marrow transplant. This may mean that you will receive radiation or chemotherapy before your transplant. This treatment kills bone marrow to create room for the incoming marrow and will likely have side effects such as nausea and fatigue.

Step Six

Donate bone marrow if your own marrow is approved for transplant. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia in the hospital, and sometimes you may be required to stay overnight. The procedure involves extracting bone marrow through a needle from the rear hip bone, which contains a large amount of bone marrow. One to 2 qts. of blood and marrow are removed.

Step Seven

Wait for donor cells to be approved for your body. This may take time, as there are multiple factors involved in receiving donated cells, such as finding a donor match, approval of the donor's insurance and allowing time for the donor to give bone marrow.

Step Eight

Relocate to an area close to the clinic or hospital where you will receive your transplant and follow-up treatment, if necessary. Some clinics require you to remain within 30 minutes of the facility once you begin to receive chemotherapy. Moving before the transplant is a good way to eliminate unnecessary stress.

Step Nine

Change your diet. Treatments that typically follow a bone marrow transplant often deplete the body of essential nutrients, so it is necessary to prepare the body. Ask your doctor about specific foods to add to your diet.

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