The gift-giving act of bone marrow donation is accompanied by uncomfortable side effects for the donor to make it a truly selfless act of kindness. In a bid to recognize the good will, and to improve the donor experience, a consultant at the Medical University of South Carolina has started to look for a new way to manage pain during and after the harvest procedure.
An article published in Frontiers in Medicine describes a pain control method that has uplifted the experience for donors and reduced the need for opioids.
Using the method, it was possible to decrease the amount of IV pain medicine administered during the procedure, as well as IV and oral pain medicine given in the recovery pain.
Clinically, bone marrow transplant can be lifesaving for patients with cancers such as leukaemia or lymphoma or for individuals with certain blood or immune system diseases. Nonetheless, bone marrow transplant still relies on collection of stem cells from the donor or patient, either related or unrelated.
While stem cells can be collected from the bone marrow or blood, oncologists prefer the bone marrow option because it lessens the risk of hazardous complication called graft-versus-host disease.
Meanwhile, improved pain management implies better experience for donors and might lead to more willingness to donate among people who were fearful of pain, opines the expert.
In fact, the fear of pain was not unwarranted as the donation process could indeed cause substantial pain.
For clinical purposes, bone marrow is collected by targeting the plentiful area for bone marrow in the body: The back area of the pelvic region or hip bones. The physician inserts a needle through the skin into the bone to collect bone marrow, which is replete with red blood cells and stem cells.