Stem Cell Transplant Hospitalization

At Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, our specialists help you understand what to expect before and after an autologous stem cell transplant. 

As a patient at Lahey, you will have a private room during your hospitalization that has special air filtration systems to keep the air germ-free to minimize infection. Your room includes a television, internet access, telephone, microwave and a small refrigerator.

Your First Week

During the first week, you will have high-dose chemotherapy. Usually, this lasts for several days, and you get medications to prevent nausea. The type of chemotherapy you receive depends on your specific type of cancer. Your blood counts begin to decrease a few days to a week after chemotherapy. Family members and friends can visit as long as they are in good health.

The day after your high-dose chemotherapy finishes, you will receive your previously collected stem cells into a vein. The infusion usually takes 20 to 90 minutes, depending on the volume of stem cells.

Your Second and Third Weeks

During the second and third weeks, your blood counts will be low. You may need red blood cell and platelet transfusions. You will receive medication to promote stem cell growth. If you develop a fever, you will receive antibiotics. The time to reach engraftment (when the blood-forming cells start to make new blood cells) depends on several factors. Usually, white blood cells are the first to grow in about 10 to 14 days after the stem cell infusion.

Going Home

Your hospital stay usually lasts about three weeks. The length of your stay may vary. After discharge, you return to the Hematology Clinic to see our physicians and to have blood tests.