BMT stands for Bone Marrow Transplant. BMT is done in order to replace the damaged bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells. The procedure is carried out by the transfusion of healthy blood stem cells. The stem cells enter into the bone marrow and are responsible to give rise to different blood cells which include RBC, WBC, Platelets, etc. Bone marrow is soft fatty tissue inside the bones. Each blood cell produced within the bone marrow carries various functions. Here all the functions are given below.
These cells are responsible to carry oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
WBC are responsible for the immune function of the body. They help in fighting infections.
These are responsible to arrest the bleeding by the formation of the blood clots.
The immature stem cells are also called Haematopoietic stem cells (HSC). The stem cells are immature but they have the capability to either divide themselves or remain as stem cells or evolve into other varieties of blood cells. These stem cells are capable of producing new blood cells until the complete life of an individual.
Purpose of Bone Marrow Transplant:
When a person is sick or has been under rigorous treatment, the bone marrow of the individual tends to deplete. This causes a problem to produce healthy blood cells thus deteriorating the body of the individual. With the help of Bone Marrow Transplant, the individual receives new stem cells which are capable of producing new healthy blood cells. The stem cells are collected either by a donor or it can be collected from our own body. The stem cells are stored, then grown before starting off any rigorous treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation which is done as part of the cancer treatment. Later these harvested stem cells are used for transplantation.
Some Important Reasons to Undergo a Bone Marrow Transplant are:
There are certain types of anaemia like aplastic anaemia in which the marrow stops producing new blood cells. Thus it becomes necessary in such cases that the individual undergoes Bone Marrow Transplant.
Cancers which damage the bone marrow.
Any radiation therapy or chemotherapy which harms the bone marrow. Thus bone marrow transplant becomes necessary.
Some hereditary disorders like thalassemia in which the body prepares an abnormal type of haemoglobin. In this case, the bone marrow transplant becomes necessary.
Complications During BMT:
BMT is a major procedure which involves certain side effects as well:
The patient might feel nauseous, frequent headaches. There will be reduced blood pressure. The patient might also present with fever and chills. These side effects are immediate which will reduce in time.
Bone Marrow Transplant also comes with complications that can be:
The donor cells might also attack back since the body’s immune system might not accept them.
The patient might also suffer from internal bleeding.
There might be organ damage. Multiple organ failure is noticed in some cases post the procedure of Bone Marrow Transplant.
Females might suffer from menstrual problems and few might also experience early menopause.
Types of BMT:
There are 3 types of Bone Marrow Transplant:
Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant: This procedure is performed before a patient is undergoing invasive procedures like chemotherapy and radiation to eradicate malignant cells. In this, the HSC’s (hematopoietic stem cells) are taken from the patient, harvested, and stored in the freezer. Later after the completion of the chemotherapy and other treatment procedures, these stored stem cells are infused back into the bloodstream of the patient. Thus new blood cells are produced with these stem cells.
Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplant: In this type of procedure, the use of donor stem cells is considered. The procedure involves two people, the donor (healthy individual) and the recipient (the patient). Sometimes this procedure might cause complications since the body’s immune mechanism might not accept the foreign cells.
Umbilical Cord Blood Transplant: In this variety, the stem cells are collected from the umbilical cord of the newborn baby. These stem cells are harvested and stored in the freezer until they are required for blood transplant procedures.
1. How Long Does it Take to Recover after a Bone Marrow Transplant?
Ans: The recovery rate depends upon the patient to patient. Usually, the patients take around 3-6 weeks after the procedure is carried out. In some cases, the patient is hospitalized until complete recovery or they might visit the health centre frequently for a checkup. The protocol varies from hospital to hospital but the patient must be in a stable condition to be discharged from the hospital.
2. How Dangerous are the Bone Marrow Transplants?
Ans: While few patients have minimal side effects of transplant but in some cases, the BMT becomes equally life-threatening. Patients might have severe complications where they might need hospitalization also.