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Bone Marrow Transplantation for Sickle cell

Bone marrow Transplantation is the best way to cure sickle cell disease or SCD. It is a little complex procedure than it appears to. Since it involves many things and the first one is finding the right hospital and a doctor. You must look for the best doctor who performs bone marrow Transplantation to discuss your or your relative’s case in depth. There are several concerns from finding a donor to combating financial expenses as well as post-transplant complications etc.

Sickle cell disease is caused by a hereditary defect with which you are born. It leads to abnormal sickle-shaped hemoglobin and hence makes it incapable to carry and deliver oxygen throughout the body, which is its main job. It even causes pain episodes due to blockage of blood flow in tiny veins. It can further use damage to brain, kidneys, heart, and other organs fo the body. So in order to prevent all organ damage bone marrow Transplantation becomes the only source or treatment.

Sickle cell disease is mainly a genetic disease which is passed from parents to their offsprings. These defective genes guide the blood-forming stem cells to produce defective sickle-shaped hemoglobin and hence there becomes no control of any drug over it and to stop it further a person must undergo bone marrow Transplantation.


How bone marrow Transplantation can help to treat sickle cell disease?

During bone marrow Transplantation, defective hematopoietic stem cells of the body are replaced with healthy ones. It is done by infusing healthy donor stem cells into the body. This helps in stopping more production of sickle-shaped cells causing SCD.


What are the complications during bone marrow Transplantation?

Like in any procedure this one also has its own attached risks and complications. But it is not mandatory you will experience them always. Also sometimes the increased episodes of pain in sickle cell disease make it essential to undergo bone marrow Transplantation even if there is certain risk involved.

Some of the complications include:

•   Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in case of rejections against bone marrow Transplantation. This happens very rarely and drugs can help in preventing this. But if somehow medicines do not work than it might lead to multiple organ damage.

•   Some damage of liver vessels can be caused during treatment.

•   Infections are very common to appear because of low immunity and precautions and medicine both in combination can help to prevent it.

•   The drugs used during bone marrow Transplantation sometimes negatively affect the fertility and infertility can be caused by them.


Normally nine out of 10 cases of bone marrow Transplantation turn out to be successful. However, in rare cases of transplant failures and rejections, another transplant might be required depending upon the condition of the patient.


Related FAQs: 

1) Q: Is it okay to get pregnant if a woman has sickle cell disease?

A: Yes, women can get pregnant since there are no specific severe problems caused by SCD during pregnancy. However, precautions will be required. SCD poses more risks of urinary tract infections during pregnancy and chances of developing severe anemic condition also increases due to less iron consumption.


2) Q: Is nickel cell disease a fatal disease?

A: Yes, it can turn out to be fatal if not treated on time. Extreme pain episodes, stroke, infections, and acute chest syndrome are very common to appear. But at times vast-occlusive crisis can even cause death in SCD.


3) Q: Is there any way to test the fetus for sickle cell anemia during pregnancy?

A: Yes, there are two tests for gene inhabitation which can be done. It involves certain techniques like chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis, in order to know about the presence of SCD.