BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuGraft-versus-host diseaseGVHD; Bone marrow transplant - graft-versus-host disease; Stem cell transplant - graft-versus-host disease; Allogeneic transplant - GVHDGraft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a life-threatening complication that can occur after certain stem cell or bone marrow transplants.Bone marrow transplantsA bone marrow transplant is a procedure to replace damaged or destroyed bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells. Bone marrow is the soft, fat...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Causes GVHD may occur after a bone marrow, or stem cell, transplant in which someone receives bone marrow tissue or cells from a donor. This type of transplant is called allogeneic. The new, transplanted cells regard the recipient's body as foreign. When this happens, the cells attack the recipient's body.GVHD does not occur when people receive their own cells. This type of transplant is called autologous.Before a transplant, tissue and cells from possible donors are checked to see how closely they match the recipient. GVHD is less likely to occur, or symptoms will be milder, when the match is close. The chance of GVHD is:Around 35% to 45% when the donor and recipient are related Around 60% to 80% when the donor and recipient are not related Symptoms There are two types of GVHD: acute and chronic. Symptoms in both acute and chronic GVHD range from mild to severe.Acute GVHD usually happens within days or as late as 6 months after a transplant. The immune system, skin, liver, and intestines are mainly affected. Common acute symptoms include:Abdominal pain or cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea Jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin or eyes) or other liver problems JaundiceJaundice is a yellow color of the skin, mucus membranes, or eyes. The yellow coloring comes from bilirubin, a byproduct of old red blood cells. Jau...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Skin rash, itching, redness on areas of the skin Skin rash,Rashes involve changes in the color, feeling or texture of your skin.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Increased risk for infections Chronic GVHD usually starts more than 3 months after a transplant, and can last a lifetime. Chronic symptoms may include:Dry eyes, burning sensation, or vision changes Dry eyesYou need tears to moisten the eyes and to wash away particles that have gotten into your eyes. A healthy tear film on the eye is necessary for good ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Dry mouth, white patches inside the mouth, and sensitivity to spicy foods Fatigue, muscle weakness, and chronic pain Joint pain or stiffness Skin rash with raised, discolored areas, as well as skin tightening or thickening Shortness of breath due to lung damage Vaginal dryness Weight loss Reduced bile flow from the liver Brittle hair and premature graying Damage to sweat glands Cytopenia (decrease in number of mature blood cells) Pericarditis (swelling in the membrane surrounding the heart; causes chest pain) PericarditisPericarditis is a condition in which the sac-like covering around the heart (pericardium) becomes inflamed.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Exams and Tests Several lab and imaging tests can be done to diagnose and monitor problems caused by GVHD. These may include:X-ray abdomen X-ray abdomenAn abdominal x-ray is an imaging test to look at organs and structures in the abdomen. Organs include the spleen, stomach, and intestines. When the ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article CT scan abdomen and CT chest CT scan abdomenAn abdominal CT scan is an imaging method. This test uses x-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the belly area. CT stands for computed tomog...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article CT chestA chest CT (computed tomography) scan is an imaging method that uses x-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the chest and upper abdomen....ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Liver function tests Liver function testsLiver function tests are common tests that are used to see how well the liver is working. Tests include:AlbuminAlpha-1 antitrypsinAlkaline phosphata...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article PET scan PET scanA positron emission tomography scan is a type of imaging test. It uses a radioactive substance called a tracer to look for disease in the body. A po...Read Article Now Book Mark Article MRI MRIA magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is an imaging test that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the body. It does not us...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Capsule endoscopy Capsule endoscopyEndoscopy is a way of looking inside the body. Endoscopy is often done with a tube put into the body that the doctor can use to look inside. Anothe...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Liver biopsyLiver biopsyA liver biopsy is a test that takes a sample of tissue from the liver for examination.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article A biopsy of the skin, mucous membranes in the mouth, may also help to confirm the diagnosis.BiopsyA biopsy is the removal of a small piece of tissue for laboratory examination.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Treatment After a transplant, the recipient usually takes medicines, such as prednisone (a steroid), which suppress the immune system. This helps reduce the chances (or severity) of GVHD.You'll continue taking the medicines until your health care provider thinks the risk for GVHD is low. Many of these medicines have side effects, including kidney and liver damage. You'll have regular tests to watch for these problems. Outlook (Prognosis) Outlook depends on the severity of GVHD. People who receive closely matched bone marrow tissue and cells usually do better.Some cases of GVHD can damage the liver, lungs, digestive tract, or other body organs. There is also a risk for severe infections.Many cases of acute or chronic GVHD can be treated successfully. But this doesn't guarantee that the transplant itself will succeed in treating the original disease. When to Contact a Medical Professional If you have had a bone marrow transplant, call your provider right away if you develop any symptoms of GVHD or other unusual symptoms.Open ReferencesReferencesBishop MR, Keating A. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 168.Im A, Pavletic SZ. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Kastan MB, Doroshow JH, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 28.Reddy P, Ferrara JLM. Graft-versus-host disease and graft-versus-leukemia responses. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Silberstein LE, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 108.AllVideoImagesTogAntibodies - illustration Antigens are large molecules (usually proteins) on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and some non-living substances such as toxins, chemicals, drugs, and foreign particles. The immune system recognizes antigens and produces antibodies that destroy substances containing antigens. AntibodiesillustrationAntibodies - illustration Antigens are large molecules (usually proteins) on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and some non-living substances such as toxins, chemicals, drugs, and foreign particles. The immune system recognizes antigens and produces antibodies that destroy substances containing antigens. AntibodiesillustrationA Closer Look Sickle cell disease(In-Depth)Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma(In-Depth)Hodgkin disease(In-Depth)Acute lymphocytic leukemia(In-Depth)Self Care Blood transfusionsRelated Information Bone marrow transplant(Surgery)Antibody(Special Topic)Transplant rejection(Condition)Histocompatibility antigen test(Medical Test)Bone marrow transplant - discharge(Discharge) Review Date: 5/27/2020 Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. 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