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  • Dec 02, 2019

Bone Marrow Transplant: Infections, It’s Causes and Preventions


Bone-Marrow Transplant is one of the most complicated surgical processes with a success rate of not more than 75 %. Infections after the surgery can make your condition even worse. The success of Bone-Marrow surgery does not only hinge on the treatment but is highly dependent on the recovery period too. Until you cross through your rehabilitation period successfully, there exist risks of infection. It is because, after the Bone-Marrow Transplant, the immune system of your body is weak, and your body is prone to post-surgical risks. 


It is possible to avoid Bone-Marrow Transplant Risks or infections by being extra careful and paying close attention to your health and hygiene. You can certainly overcome the risks by taking into practice a few preventions:

  • Wash your hands before and after the meals.
  • Keep your surroundings clean.
  • Do not visit unhygienic places.
  • Stay away from other patients to avoid the risk of infectious diseases.

Another yet most important way to avoid infections after a bone-marrow transplant is to know all the causes of Infection.

Causes Of Infection After Bone-Marrow Transplant Procedure:

The appropriate count of white blood cells after the treatment does not reflect that your immune system is in perfect health. It takes considerable time post-surgery for your body to regain immunity, and till then, your body is at risk. Some of the common complications after BMT are:

  • Granulocytopenia.
  • Humoral Immunity.
  • Waning of Cell-Mediated Immunity or CMI.
  • Impairment of Barrier Defences.

The disorders in the body allow the microorganisms to cause the infection. However, with time, the body regains back its immune powers, and there are lower chances of infection.

Origins Of Infection After A Bone-Marrow Transplant:

There are various sources of infection as per the duration post surgery. 

  • Probability of Infection in month 1: Herpes Simplex Virus, Fungi and bacteria.
  • Month 2 Infections: The prime source of infection is cytomegalovirus, bacteria, fungi and other viruses too.
  • Infection in Month 3: Along with bacteria and fungi, there are higher chances of infection from varicella zoster.

There are higher Bone-Marrow Transplant Risks in patients who undergo allogeneic bone marrow transplant in comparison to that of autologous transplantation. The major complication is because of graft versus host disease. 

Once you know the cause of infection, it is essential to know the cure too. The first thing before you adopt to the prevention techniques is to know whether or not you are suffering from Bone-Marrow Transplant Infection.

Diagnosis Of Bone-Marrow Transplant Infection:

A patient will suffer from fever and possibly fluctuation in the temperature of the body if he is vulnerable to infection. The patient must check the temperature of the body minimum twice a day. It is essential to keep the record at least for one month. 

Along with that, the patient must also take immunosuppressive medicines as per the guidance of the surgeon. It is recommended for both the allogenic and autologous Bone-Marrow Transplant. 

How To Prevent Infection After Bone-Marrow Transplantation?

Following precautions can help the patient to prevent the infection after the surgery:

You Can Avoid Infection Because Of Direct Contact:

It is possible to avoid viral infection by using antibacterial soap and warm water each time you eat food or medicines. Make sure your body and hands are completely hygienic. Along with hand wash, use of hand sanitizer is a must if you are outside your home. Hand wash is a must before using hand sanitizer as hand rubs fail to block the gastrointestinal bacterial infection. Hand wash is essential not only before eating, but every time the patient:

  • Touch clothes or linens
  • After sneezing or coughing
  • Visit the hospital for a routine checkup
  • Shake hands with anyone
  • Drives or visit outdoors
  • Touching your pets
  • Post taking oral pills and after your meals.

Circumvent Environmental Exposures:

Do not step out in a polluted environment; consider taking necessary precautions. As the immunity of the body is low, you can catch the infection by any means, no matter it is direct or indirect. You must be alert for a minimum span of 6 months. After that, the bone marrow transplant risks reduces.

Make Hygiene Your Habit And Priority:

To get rid of bacterial infection, bathing two times a day is essential. You can consider the natural body cleansing as long as you do not submerge the central venous catheter. In case of any difficulty you can take support from friend of family. Consider using antibacterial shampoo, soap and shower gel.

Along with body care, oral care is equally important. Brush your teeth each time you eat something. Make sure your teeth and gums are in healthy condition. Consider using mouth wash for rinsing as per the guidance of a dentist.

Stay Away From People Suffering From Communicable Diseases:

Never come in close contact with someone who has respiratory diseases. Especially from kids and older people as they are often exposed to respiratory illness. There are higher chances of bacterial and fungal infection due to the transmission of infectious diseases. You may not remain wholly isolated for half a year but avoid getting in direct contact with anyone.

Do Not Visit Public Places Until You Recover Completely:

Avoid being at overcrowded places, especially at theatres and sports events. Never think of using public transport if you visit outdoors in any case. Use a mask whenever you go out, it may not ensure your safety completely but certainly reduces the chances of infection.

Apart from all the precautions written in brief above, you must be cautious on deciding the wrong and rights for yourself. Like you must never be on construction site or any wood-burning fireplaces, as wood contains fungus and may lead to fungal infection. Smoking, alcohol and tobacco may be some other reasons for infection. Stay from any dusty place. You must not participate in cleaning and cooking until you recover entirely. Your surgeon will provide you with a list of do’s and don’ts, following it can certainly help you in avoiding all types of infections. No matter, the cause is fungus, bacteria, virus or any other.

Final Words:

Bone Marrow Transplant may be a complicated surgery, but, if you recover thoroughly from the surgery and the recovery period, it can give you a new life. A better lifestyle and liberty to live your life without any restrictions. All you need to do is be careful for the first year after the surgery so that you can avoid infection. No matter you are in a hospital rehabilitation centre or at your home after discharge.

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