Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Most of the children readmit to hospital after receiving a hematopoietic stem cell transplant

A new study by researchers at the Dana-Farber Children's Hospital Cancer Centre, Boston reveals that about 60 % of all children receiving a hematopoietic stem cell transplant will readmit to the hospital within the first 6 months. Furthermore, the study showed children receiving an allogeneic stem cell transplant are twice as likely to readmit compared to children receiving autologous stem cells.

The study lasted from from 2008 to 2011, and during this period the researchers, led by Dr. Leslie Lehmann, followed a total of 129 children who  had received a hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). The majority (64 %) of the children had at least one hospital readmission while children that had received their own stem cells were less likely to visit the hospital than children that had received stem cells from a donor, 38 % and 79% respectively. In the long run, most of the children managed to fully recover.

A hematopoietic stem cell transplant

The study also examined the average number of readmissions, and it was found that on average each child readmits 2.4 times. The main reasons for this are:
  • Fever, with no signs of infection (39 %)
  • Infection (24 %)
  • Gastrointestinal problems (15 %)

"No one had ever looked at these data in children, This is very important information and will allow us to counsel families appropriately, as well as try to devise interventions that reduce the rate of readmissions. We hope these findings can eventually lead to identifying a group of low-risk children who could be managed at local hospitals rather than transplant centres, reducing costs and inconvenience to families." said Lehmann

The study will be presented at the upcoming 26th annual meeting of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology Oncology in Miami, April 24-27.

Video of Dr. Leslie Lehmann discussing her work in stem cell transplantation

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