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preparing for transplant

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Insurance Coverage

We will call your health insurance company to find out how much of it they will cover. To do this we:

  • need copies of all your current medical insurance cards
  • will call your insurance company and speak with them about your treatment
  • will give you the coverage information and possible costs
  • will get coverage information about all the parts of the transplant treatment including the hospital stay
  • will check the costs of the medicines that you will need
  • will help you find financial help if needed

Pre-Transplant Testing

  • Dental Exam: visit to your doctor for a complete exam and cleaning. Any problems (cavities, infections) need to be taken care of before starting transplant
  • Chest X-Ray
  • MUGA Scan and/or Echocardiogram: measures how well your heart pumps blood through your body
  • Pulmonary Function Test (PFT): tests how much oxygen your lungs can hold and how much oxygen gets to your blood
  • Infectious Disease Tests
  • Additional Tests: CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, bone scan and more blood work

As part of the pre-transplant testing you will need to see the transplant social worker or psychologist. They will help you cope with social, emotional, family and financial issues.

Once all of these tests are done, you will meet with your doctor and care coordinator to go over the results, have your questions answered and sign consents for the stem cell collection and the transplant.

Induction Phase

During induction, you may get chemotherapy. Some side effects of chemotherapy can be nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, low blood counts, which can possibly lead to anemia, infections, bleeding, hair loss and being tired.


During this part, you get medicines to increase the number of stem cells in your bone marrow. These stem cells go from the bone marrow into your blood stream. We will collect the stem cells using a process called Apheresis. During this, blood is removed from your vein, to the apheresis machine, which takes out the stem cells from the blood and puts the rest of the blood back into your vein. The stem cells that are taken out are saved, frozen and will be given back to you later during the transplant.

Stem Cell Collection

This is done as an outpatient at the Apheresis Center, located in the center for Advanced Care at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital on the second floor. On the first day of collection, a blood test will be done to find out how many stem cells there are in your blood. The collection will actually begin once your blood counts show that you have enough stem cells in your blood. The collection process takes about 3-6 hours. All of the stem cells may be collected on the first day, or it may take 2-3 days on the collection machine to get the right amount.

Apheresis Catheter

To collect your stem cells, a Central Venous Catheter will be placed into a large vein that runs under your collarbone. It is a thin plastic tube with three tubes on the end. It will be used to draw blood, collect the stem cells. It will stay in place and will be used while you are in the hospital to get the transplant. Your catheter may be taken out before going home from the hospital or you may go home with it in place and have it taken out when your platelets reach 50,000 and when the doctor decides you no longer need it.

Neupogen Shots

Neupogen is the medicine that will make you or your donor's body make extra stem cells so they can be collected. It is given as a shot into the fatty tissue with a small needle. These shots will need to be given two times a day, once in the morning and again in the evening, about 12 hours apart until the stem cell collection is done. 

Care Partner

During the transplant, you will need to have one person who will help you; this person will be your care partner. It can be a family member or a friend. Your care partner will need to come with you when you see the doctor and when you go to the clinic. They can call and talk to your doctor or nurse for you if needed. They will also need to help you at home with your medications, shopping, cooking and anything you may need.

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