Peripheral blood stem cell donation
On four consecutive days before peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation, a donor will receive daily injections of mobilising agents (granulocyte colony stimulating, G-CSF) to increase the number of stem cells in their blood. Some donors may experience bone pain and flu-like symptoms, which usually respond to medication. However, less than 1% of donors experience a serious side effect as a result of PBSC donation. Since the early 1990s these G-CSF injections are given to donors to stimulate blood-forming stem cells to move from the marrow into the bloodstream. Several days before donation, donors may experience headaches or bone and muscle pain, similar to a cold or the flu. These are side effects of the injections that typically disappear shortly after donation. Other common side effects include nausea, trouble sleeping and tiredness. Most registries collect data on the health of donors following donation and, to date, WMDA is unaware of any long-term complications directly associated with G-CSF injections.
Another potential risk may arise from the placement of a central line: some donors do not have suitable arm veins and must have a central venous line (a sterile tube) inserted into one of their larger veins. However, the risks of serious complications from this are small. A central line will only be placed with donor’s consent, once they have received information about the possible risks.
WMDA has established a committee, consisting of doctors, cord blood experts, and legal advisors, that evaluates serious adverse events and reactions related to donation and transfusion of blood stem cells.