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Chronic health conditions common for stem cell transplant survivors
Date:8/18/2010

ty of chronic health conditions reported by 1,022 HCT survivors who received their transplants at City of Hope or the University of Minnesota between 1974 and 1998 for a blood cancer or severe aplastic anemia. The results were compared to those of 309 siblings of the participants. Each of the HCT survivors and siblings completed a questionnaire, which included questions regarding physical health conditions, access to and use of medical care, and sociodemographic characteristics.

The results showed that chronic health conditions were widespread in the HCT survivors. Sixty-six percent of these patients reported at least one chronic condition, half reported at least two chronic health conditions, and more than a third (35 percent) reported three or more conditions. In comparison, 39 percent of the siblings reported at least one chronic health condition, but only 15 percent had two or more conditions, and 6 percent had three or more. A severity score of grade 1 (mild) through 4 (life-threatening) was also assigned to each health condition. Mild and moderate conditions include ocular issues, hearing impairment, hypertension, and sensory problems while severe conditions include cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and muscuskeletal problems, as well as new malignancies. In the HCT cohort, 18 percent reported conditions of the severest level (grade 3 or 4), while only 8 percent of the sibling group had grade 3 or 4 conditions.

Additionally, 53 percent of the HCT survivors who had received grafts from a donor experienced chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a complication in which the foreign transplanted cells attack the cells in the recipient's body. Although GVHD is treatable, this complication contributed significantly to the increased risk of multiple severe or life-threatening conditions in these patients. Among the survivors with GVHD, nearly one-quarter had severe or life-threatening conditions such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disorders
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Contact: Lindsey Love
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American Society of Hematology
Source:Eurekalert

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