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BMT: Complications

Complications may occur from the conditioning regimen and after transplant when the bone marrow is severely depleted.

Post-transplant patients are extremely vulnerable to infections (viral, bacterial, and fungal) because they lack a functional immune system(1). To prevent infection patients are closely monitored, kept in protected environments, and are given a variety of prophylactic medications (medications used to prevent an illness from occurring).

Organ Effects
The conditioning regimen and the depression of the bone marrow can lead to organ problems and in some, severe cases, organ failure. Patients are closely monitored through frequent physical examinations and imaging studies. The skin, lungs, and liver are especially susceptible to the effects of the conditioning treatment(1).

Gastrointestinal Tract (GI Tract) and Digestive Problems
The conditioning regimen can cause GI tract and digestive symptoms, problems may include:

  • Mouth sores
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramps
  • Ulcers

Transplant patients often have problems getting proper nutrition through food because they have a poor appetite, mouth/throat sores, and gastrointestinal issues (vomiting/diarrhea). This is usually treated with intravenous nutrition (hyperalimentation); a bag of proteins and carbohydrates that is given daily.

References for this page:
  1. Aschan J. "Risk assessment in haematopoietic stem cell transplantation: conditioning". Best Pract Res Clin Haematol. 2007 Jun;20(2):295-310. [PUBMED]
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