GVHD Symptoms

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This article looks at GVHD symptoms. GVHD, Graft-versus-host-disease, is the most serious potential complication of an allogeneic stem cell transplantation. In GVHD, the transplanted bone marrow begins to attack a patient's organs. It occurs in as many as one half of all allogeneic stem cell transplant patients, and it can either be of the acute kind (occurring within about 100 days of the transplant) or of the chronic kind (occurring after those 100 days). The most common GVHD symptoms are as follows:

Acute GVHD symptoms:
Acute GVHD affects the skin, the liver, and the gastrointestinal tract. Thus GVHD symptoms include:

-- Diarrhea
-- Fever
-- Skin rashes
-- Jaundice
-- Abdominal cramps
-- Abdominal pain
-- Vomiting
-- Weight loss

Chronic GVHD symptoms
Chronic GVHD affects the skin, mouth, liver, eyes, GI tract, lungs, and joints. Thus GVHD symptoms include:

-- Dry eyes
-- Dry mouth
-- Hair loss
-- Pulmonary (lung) disorders
-- Digestive tract disorders
-- Hepatitis
-- Skin rash
-- Skin thickening

Because GVHD is a potentially life-threatening complication, doctors do what they can to try and prevent it from developing. They are not, however, always successful

Sources

MedlinePlus, Graft-Versus-Host-Disease

Medscape Reference, Graft-Versus-Host-Disease

Boyiadzis, Michael M. et al. Hematology-Oncology Therapy. 2007. New York: McGraw Hill, Medical Publishing Division, Ch. 50, "Complications and Follow-Up after Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation."

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