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All-Inclusive Info on Graft Versus Host Disease



Graft Versus Host Disease (GvHD)

Graft versus host disease (GvHD) is a type of transplant rejection condition, wherein, the transplanted cells (graft) attack the healthy cells of the host (patient). It occurs when the immune cells in the transplanted tissue (the "graft") recognizes the patient's cells as foreign and begins to attack them. The most common type of GvHD is acute GvHD, which typically develops within the first 100 days after transplant. GvHD can occur in two forms:

  1. Acute GvHD

  2. Chronic GvHD

Acute GvHD

Acute GvHD is a serious complication that can occur after a stem cell or bone marrow transplant. This can be a life-threatening condition, which is the more common and less severe form of GvHD. It typically develops within the first three months after transplant and can cause a rash, diarrhea, and liver problems.


Symptoms of Acute GvHD

The symptoms of acute GvHD can be mild, moderate, or severe. The most common symptom is a skin rash that can be itchy and painful. Other symptoms may include diarrhea, liver damage, gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, fever, and weight loss.


Risk Factors of Acute GvHD

There are several risk factors for developing GvHD, including severe immunodeficiency, previous exposure to radiation therapy, and certain genetic factors. GvHD can be prevented by using donor cells that are a close match to the recipient, by using lower doses of immunosuppressive drugs, and by avoiding exposure to certain viruses or bacteria.


Chronic GvHD

Chronic GvHD is a more severe, more long-lasting, and less common form of GvHD. It can develop months or even years after transplant, and can cause multiple organ damage, including skin, eyes, mouth, joints, liver, and lung problems. Chronic GvHD can last for months or years, and it may never go away completely. However, there are treatments available that can help to control the symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with chronic GvHD.


Symptoms of Chronic GvHD

The symptoms of chronic GvHD are similar to those of acute GvHD, but they are usually less severe.


Risk Factors of Chronic GvHD

There are several risk factors for developing GvHD, including:

  • The donor and recipient having mismatched human leukocyte antigens (HLA)

  • The donor and recipient having a different blood type

  • The donor being a male

  • The recipient being older

  • The recipient having a history of GvHD

  • The recipient having a history of autoimmune diseases

Preventing GvHD

There are several measures that can be taken to prevent GvHD, including:

  • Using donor cells that are a close match to the recipient's cells

  • Using donor cells that have been treated to remove immune cells

  • Using donor cells that have been treated with radiation

There are several other things that can be done to prevent GvHD, including:

  • Donating stem cells or bone marrow only to people who are closely matched to you.

  • Taking medication to reduce the risk of GvHD.

  • Having a stem cell or bone marrow transplant only if it is medically necessary.

Diagnosing GvHD

If GvHD is suspected, a biopsy of the affected tissue can be performed to confirm the diagnosis.


Treating GvHD

If you are diagnosed with GvHD, there are several treatments that can be effective, depending on the severity of the condition. These treatments include:

  • Immunosuppressive drugs or steroids are the most common medications for treating GvHD. Other medications may also be used to help control the symptoms.

  • In some of the most severe and ill-fated cases, stem cell transplant might be advised!

Contact 1Health Medical Center for GvHD

Don't suffer from GvHD alone; 1Health Medical Center is here to help! We offer expert care and treatment for this condition, so you can get back to living your life.


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