Day 0: The Day of the Stem Cell Transplant
The day of a child's stem cell transplant at Phoenix Children's Hospital is called "Day 0."
The days prior to Day 0 are -1, -2, -3, etc. Likewise, the day after Day 0 is "Day +1," and the days after are +2, +3, and so on.
What Happens on Day 0?
- Before the infusion, the child receives medications to help prevent a reaction to the cells. His or her nurse closely monitors the child during the infusion process, which takes a few hours. More medications may be given during the infusion if there are any signs of a reaction to the cells.
- The stem cells are delivered to the patient's nurse and infused through the patient's central venous catheter. The infusion of cells takes place in the patient room. These stem cells then travel into the bone marrow, where they mature, grow and begin to make new blood cells.
- The child rests and prepares for engraftment and discharge.
Autologous Transplants and DMSO
Children that receive an autologous stem cell transplant have the stem cells preserved (until use) with a chemical called DMSO.
Some children report a garlic or fish-like smell associated with this preservative when their stem cells are being infused into them.
This odor may last for up to 2–3 days after the stem cell infusion and may make the patient nauseated.
Some patients chew gum or suck on hard candy while the cells infuse to decrease this smell.
Because DMSO is partly excreted through the skin, daily baths/showers can help decrease the odor. Most children tolerate it well, but a nurse will be watching for any signs of reactions to the DMSO during the stem cell infusion procedure.
If you have any questions about this or any other part of the stem cell transplant process, please contact us.