Joined: 16 July 2011
The procedure has a lower success rate the greater the recipient's age. Complications are exacerbated for people whose health is already seriously impaired, as in late-stage cancers.
Bone marrow transplants are accompanied by serious and life-threatening risks. Furthermore, they are not always an absolute assurance of a cure for the underlying ailment; a disease may recur in the future.
Even in the absence of complications, the transplant and associated treatments are hard on the recipient. Bone marrow transplants are debilitating. A person's ability to withstand the rigors of the transplant is a key consideration in deciding to use this treatment.
In the short term, there is the danger of pneumonia or other infectious disease, excessive bleeding, or liver disorder caused by blocked blood vessels. The transplant may be rejected by the recipient's immune system, or the donor bone marrow may launch an immune-mediated attack against the recipient's tissues. This complication is called acute graft-versus-host disease, and it can be a life-threatening condition. Characteristic signs of the disease include fever, rash, diarrhea, liver problems, and a compromised immune system.
Approximately 25–50% of bone marrow transplant recipients develop long-term complications. Chronic graft-versus-host disease symptoms include skin changes such as dryness, altered pigmentation, and thickening; abnormal liver function tests ; dry mouth and eyes; infections; and weight loss. Other long-term complications include cataracts (due to radiation treatment), abnormal lung function, hormonal abnormalities resulting in reduced growth or hypothyroidism, secondary cancers, and infertility.
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Joined: 17 December 2011
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