Agile Global Health Blog

Bone marrow donation for bone marrow transplant (BMT)

Mar 29, 2018 / Agile Global Health

Welcome back to Your Health 101. Inspired by our Cardiac Care 101 series of educational posts about heart disease, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, this series expands our clinical scope to address all kinds of medical conditions. We’re beginning with several posts about bone marrow transplant (BMT), a specialized treatment which Agile Global Health has deep experience managing for our patients. Last month, we introduced readers to the treatment broadly; today, we’ll delve into how bone marrow can be donated to patients needing BMT.

How is bone marrow donation performed?

The most common method is peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation. Here, the donor receives an injection of a drug called G-CSF for four days; this is to increase the number of blood stem cells in the donor’s bloodstream. On the fifth day, the donor’s blood is removed through a needle in one arm. The blood is then processed through a special machine which separates the stem cells from other blood – a process called apheresis. The rest of the blood is returned to the donor through a needle in the other arm. In 90% of cases, this type of donation is completed in one session taking up to eight hours. In the remaining 10%, two sessions lasting four to six hours each may be required.

The second way to donate bone marrow is to remove it from the donor’s hip bone using a special syringe while the donor is under anesthesia.

Are there any side effects of bone marrow donation?

The drug that donors receive prior to donation, G-CSF, has side effects like headaches and bone and muscle pain. These may last for a few days before the donation and disappear gradually afterwards. Some patients may also experience nausea, insomnia, and fatigue. More serious side effects are very rare, seen in just 0.6% of donors.

During the PBSC donation procedure, the donor may experience side effects like mild muscle cramps and tingling around the mouth, fingers, and toes. However, these symptoms can be treated with calcium replacement or by slowing down the procedure. Other common side effects may include bruising at the needle site, chills, and a decrease in the blood platelet count.

Thank you, doctors of the Agile Medical Team, for these great explanations. Next time, we’ll turn to the different types of BMT. Follow the Agile Global Health blog to catch all future installments of Your Health 101!


Image credit: Fox Chase Cancer Center

Agile Global Health

Agile Global Health (operating as A&K Global Health in select countries) is an Agile Health Systems company and a worldwide leader in realizing transparent, affordable, effective and innovative solutions to complex healthcare delivery challenges. We listen to local and national healthcare leaders in every country where we work, and then support their vision to improve their national health system’s accessibility, quality, and clinical outcomes. For patients, we connect you with the right care for your needs, from facilitating quality local and regional treatment to coordinating international medical travel; for healthcare funders and providers, we optimize your organizational impact by introducing transparency, control and customization to the medical, financial and experiential aspects of your clients’ medical journey. Contact us today to learn how we can support you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

“From day one when we arrived in this country, the Agile Global Health staff were very welcoming, cooperative, kind hearted and ready all the time to ease our problems and solve them immediately. The Agile Global Health staff easily facilitated our five-day stay and we had access to all facilities we needed. Thank you, Agile Global Health for all this, may the good spirit encourage others to use you more and more.

- Jane Senteu

Simple Share Buttons