What are the Risks of Bone Marrow Transplant?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 05, 2013

What are the Risks of Bone Marrow Transplant

Bone marrow transplants are complex procedures that carry significant risks of serious complications. It may take long for the new bone marrow to function normally. Patients are closely monitored during this time to identify any infections or complications that may develop. Studies have shown the younger you are, the more likely the treatment is to succeed. As there is a significant risk of side-effects occurring after a bone marrow transplant, it is important to be fully aware of the risks before the treatment starts. Risks and complications may vary depending on the following:


[Read: How to Prepare for Bone Marrow Transplant?]

  • type of marrow transplant,
  • type of ailment requiring transplant,
  • age and overall health of the patient,
  • variance of tissue matching between donor and recipient.

[Read: What is Bone Marrow Transplant?]

There are many serious risks and side effects of a bone marrow transplant, which include:

  • low platelets and low red blood cells


  • serious bleeding


  • fluid overload


  • infection


  • respiratory distress


  • infertility or sterility


  • cataracts

[Read: How is Bone Marrow Transplant Done?]

  • graft failure


  • muscle spasms


  • leg cramps


  • secondary cancers (the transplant procedure increases the risk of developing another cancer)


  • graft-versus-host disease (GVHD): it is a type of "rejection" and occurs when the donor's immune system reacts against the recipient's tissue. The new cells do not recognize the tissues and organs of the recipient's body. GVHD is graded from I to IV and can be acute or chronic. The patient needs to be monitored closely for signs and symptoms of GVHD. Diarrhea, fever, rash, skin changes, abdominal pain, respiratory complications, and decreased liver function may be present with GVHD.


Medications will be given prior to transplant to reduce the risk of this complication.


Read more articles on Bone Marrow Transplant.

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