Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant- Risks and Success Rates
Bone Marrow is a spongy tissue inside your bones. These make stem cells or young blood cells. The patient suffering from Leukemia and Thalasemmia are most commonly requires a bone marrow transplant. But what about pediatric bone marrow transplant? The word pediatric is related to children. Therefore, when bone marrow transplant takes place in children, it is known as a pediatric bone marrow transplant. The aim of pediatric bone marrow transplant is to replace the diseased bone marrow with a healthy one.
Type of bone marrow transplant in children:
Type of bone marrow transplant in children is the same as that of adults. These include Autologous bone marrow transplant, Allogeneic bone marrow transplant, and Umbilical cord blood transplant.
Risk in Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant:
In any case, a bone marrow transplant will have some risks. Some of them might be life-threatening as well. There are various risks related to-
- Type of bone marrow transplant.
- Type of disease in the child.
- Medicines used before transplant.
- The age of the child.
- The difference of the tissue that is matched between the child and the donor.
Possible Complications In The Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant:
There are different possible complications in the pediatric bone marrow transplant, according to oncologists. Some of them are-
- Infections – Infections can be due to severe bone marrow suppression. This is a situation characterized by the low making of blood cells in the bone marrow. This can be treated with the help of appropriate medicines.
- Anaemia and thrombocytopenia – Anemia is the low level of red blood cells and thrombocytopenia is about lower platelets. These two conditions can prove fatal to life as well. Most of the children suffering from these, have to undergo multiple blood transfusion
- Pain – Oncologists suggest that a child can experience the pain from mouth sores and Gastro Intestinal irritation. These may arise due to chemotherapy. These can be easily treated by painkillers and good mouth care.
- Breathing problems – Your child may face serious breathing problems. These can be due to lung infection, fluid overload, graft v/s host disease, and airway inflammation. In this case, the child has to be given the supplement oxygen until the condition improves.
- Fluid Overload- This can happen when the kidney is unable to cope up with a large amount of fluid given. For this, the child may be weighed often, undergo urine and blood tests. Medicines will be given so that your kidney can cope up with the excess fluid given.
- Organ damage – There are chances of short term and long term liver and heart damage. These may be caused due to Graft-versus-host disease, chemotherapy or fluid overload. The child’s blood will be checked often to take care of organ failure.
- Graft Failure – Graft is the stem cells which have been transplanted. There might be a situation when the stem cells are unable to grow. This can be treated with another bone marrow transplant.
- Graft-versus-host disease – It is a situation when the donor’s immune cells attack that of recipient healthy cells. The signs may include- diarrhoea, skin changes, breathing problems, fever, rash, and stomach pain. The child will be given medications before the transplant to cure this.
Are Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Successful?
According to oncologists, pediatric bone marrow transplant has a higher success rate than that of adult bone marrow transplantation. This is because the cells at a younger age can regenerate themselves in a larger amount than that of a higher age. The procedure used will also have an effect on the success rate. Generally, autologous bone marrow transplantation has a higher success rate of about 100% while allogenic have somewhere about 85-100 per cent. But, yes, a pediatric bone marrow transplant is highly successful when done from an appropriate hospital.
Therefore, if a child undergoes a bone marrow transplant, proper care has to be taken. When you observe any changes other than normal, feel free to contact your Pediatrician or Oncologist.