People who need a life-saving blood or marrow transplant (BMT) need to be especially careful to avoid COVID-19.
So, a group of experts agreed on some ways to protect patients and donors from COVID-19.
For patients, pandemic brings COVID tests and fewer visitors
All patients should be screened for COVID-19. Preparing for BMT can weaken the patient’s immune system for 6-12 months. If someone needs BMT right away due to rapidly failing health, doctors say they should get BMT.
However, some patients may delay BMT if:
- they don’t need BMT urgently
- they test positive for COVID-19
While in the hospital for BMT, people should not have social visitors except in special cases. This reduces the risk of getting infected.
For donors, pandemic brings few changes
There is no evidence that the new coronavirus can be spread through BMT. However, donors may need to wait 28 days before donating if they test positive for COVID-19. If donors have close contact with someone with COVID-19, a doctor will assess the situation.
Frozen blood or marrow makes scheduling BMT more flexible
Also, depending on a patient’s diagnosis, the doctor will decide if it is better to receive fresh or frozen blood or marrow.
Doctors also suggest a medicine, called G-CSF, which may help patients recover faster.
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