white blood cell count after stem cell transplant

Posted on October 8th, 2020

For a complete guideline on how to prevent infections, go to Patient Education > Your Responsibilities. Anti-bacterial, anti-viral and sometimes anti-fungal medications are prescribed during the Post-BMT Phase to treat these different types of infection.

It will take at least eight to 14 days from the day of transplantation before your blood counts start to recover. It usually takes about 2 to 6 weeks to start seeing a steady return to normal blood cell counts. One of the most common signs of infection is a fever. After receiving your transplant, your white blood cell count will decrease quickly and will remain low until the new cells begin to grow (engraftment). For example, the protective isolation procedures and guidelines for visitors are for the purpose of preventing infection while you are in hospital. To help identify an early infection, it is important to let the health care team know how you are feeling.

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If it gets too low you might feel: tired; lacking in energy; breathless; You might need a blood transfusion to top up your red blood cells. But it can take up to a year for your immune system to fully recover. There are three main types of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

A side effect of chemotherapy is that it may kill young blood cells as they are growing. After that, your new stem cells will probably start making white blood cells that can help your body defend itself.

Bacterial infections are most common during this time, but viral infections that were controlled by your immune system can become active again. After you receive the stem cell infusion, it can take about two weeks before blood count recovery (also called engraftment).                     ©2016 Leukemia/BMT Program of BC, Reduced Intensity Conditioning (RIC) Transplant, Patient Education > Your Responsibilities, Fever of greater or equal to 38°C (Celsius) or 100°F (Fahrenheit). During this time, you are at great risk for developing an infection since you will not have white blood cells to fight bacteria, viruses or fungi. Engraftment is when transplanted stem cells enter the blood, make their way to the bone marrow and start making new blood cells. After receiving your transplant, your white blood cell count will decrease quickly and will remain low until the new cells begin to grow (engraftment). Recovery on average takes 6-12 months after the transplant. Although infections can be quite serious, there are many approaches to treatment. Because all people carry germs (organisms) in their systems naturally, infections in the transplant patient are often from the patient’s own organisms.

During this time, you will be at risk for serious, life-threatening infections and bleeding.

Most of these problems are worse when the blood count is very low, usually 2 to 3 weeks aft…

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