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How painful is bone marrow transplant?

Posted 03-31-2019 at 10:55 PM by arcindheal


Bone marrow transplant is the treatment for many types of carcinoma (like blood
and bone marrow cancers) and non-cancerous diseases like sickle cell anemia,
thalassemia, multiple sclerosis etc. The procedure involves extraction of healthy
bone marrow from the donor (preferably from hip bone) and infusion of the
extracted bone marrow into the patientís body through an intra-venous line.


From the donorís perspective: Contrary to the popular belief, bone marrow
donation is not painful. Since it is done under general anesthesia the donor does
not feel anything during the bone marrow harvesting procedure. Special needles
are placed through the skin into the marrow cavity and stem cells and blood is
aspirated. It takes around 1-2 hours to harvest bone marrow.


After the procedure donor may experience tiredness, sore throat etc. Sometimes the
donor may experience pain in the area from where the marrow is aspirated. The
side-effects of anesthesia is the only outcome which also wear off in a short time.
From the recipientís perspective: The bone marrow transplant is done only after
the diseased bone marrow is completely removed by chemotherapy and radiation.


This process is a little painful. The transplant is done through intra-venous
infusion. During the transplant the patient may experience pain, chills, fever, hives
or chest pain. On an average, in the pain scale of 0-10, pain experienced by adult
patients during transplant is 4.5 (as per clinical research). But in children the pain
management during BMT is a real concern (pain scale of 4.9/10) and by
administering patient controlled anesthesia, a pain score of 3/10 Ė 0.77/10 can be
achieved.


After the procedure there are chances of graft vs host disease. Utmost care must be
taken before, during and after the procedure of BMT to avoid any kind of
infections.
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