Hi guys, I was wondering if someone could answer my query regarding the death-rate of HSCT. Perhaps George, if you would be so kind!?
I have read that it's a little under 1% of people, so what accounts for this? Is that one percent comprised of those who were unusually weak when undertaking the procedure, too old or too young, had a negative allergic reaction to the treatment? Or is it just random? Could a relatively strong man just die as easily as someone who was much weaker? I guess I'm trying to understand that 1% and the "truth" behind the statistic.
Sorry I missed answering your original query. For an otherwise-healthy person receiving HSCT, the most likely cause of a rare death would be an infection that developed during the time a person is neutropenic with no functional immune defense. That time period lasts about 10 days so it is critical to be vigilant to gaurd against infectious exposure and immediately treat people with anti-infectives if there is even a suspicion of infection. Being proactive during this time period is critical since wasting time to diagnose a problem could be fatal.
For the population as a whole (50,000 cancer patients treated every year with HSCT), infection still tops the list but there are a bunch of other potential issues that run a whole list of things that you mentioned. Some people are just too weak to tolerate the chemo stress on the body, allergic reactions, reactivation of dormant virus, etc. Generally speaking stronger people have a better survival rate compared to those that are weaker. (Often when it comes to cancer a weak patients has no choice but to undergo the procedure, lest they would surely die no matter what without it).