The inpatient stem cell transplant unit has been specially designed to meet the needs of transplant patients. The rooms are private and have special air filtration systems to keep the air germ-free to minimize infection. The rooms are equiped with television, internet access, telephone and small refrigerator.
High-dose chemotherapy is administered during the first week. Most chemotherapy agents are administered for several days along with medications to prevent nausea. The type of chemotherapy depends on the underlying cancer. Blood counts begin to decrease a few days to a week after chemotherapy is completed. Although family and friends are allowed to visit, there are visitation guidelines that must be followed.
Stem Cell Reinfusion
Stem cells are infused into a vein the day after high-dose chemotherapy is completed. The infusion usually takes between twenty and ninety minutes depending on the volume of stem cells infused. During the infusion blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rate are monitored.
Second and Third Weeks
During this period blood counts are low. Red blood cell and platelet transfusions maybe required. A medication to promote stem cell growth is administered. Antibiotics are prescribed if a fevor develops. The time to reach engraftment depends on several factors. Usually white blood cells are the first cell to engraft, about 12 days following stem cell infusion.
Discharge from the Hospital
Hospitalization typically lasts about three weeks. Of course, there are patients who will be released sooner than 21 days, while others will require a longer hospitalization. Following discharge, you will return to the Hematology Clinic to be examined by a physician and to have blood tests performed.
Blood Bank Support
All blood products administered to transplant patients are irradiated and filtered through a leukocyte depletion filter. Blood products not provided through the Medical Center donor program are obtained from the American Red Cross and tested in accordance with the requirements of the Food and Drug Administration and the American Association of Blood Banks.