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Myelodysplastic Syndromes

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a group of conditions that prevent stem cells in your bone marrow from working properly. Stem cells make red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets. MDS cause stem cells to grow and increase in number without control or order. The RBCs, WBCs, and platelets produced are faulty and too few in number. This increases your risk for anemia (low levels of RBC), bleeding, infections, and leukemia. MDS usually affect elderly people.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

  • A stem cell transplant may increase your risk for bleeding or for an infection. You may continue to have symptoms, even after treatment. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. This may become life-threatening.

  • If left untreated, your RBCs, WBCs, and platelets may continue to decrease. This may increase your risk for anemia (low RBCs), infections, fevers, or bleeding problems. It may also increase your risk for leukemia (cancer of blood cells). These conditions may become life-threatening.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Reverse isolation:

You may be put on reverse isolation safety measures if your body is having a hard time fighting infections. You are given a private room to protect you from other people's germs. Caregivers and visitors may wear gloves, a face mask, or a gown to keep their germs away from you. Everyone should wash their hands when entering and leaving your room.

Medicines:

  • Antibiotics may help prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.

  • Steroids may be used to stop your immune system from attacking your body's own cells, such as RBCs, WBCs, and platelets.

  • Immunosuppressives help stop your immune system from attacking your body's own cells. They may also prevent death of normal RBCs, WBCs, and platelets.

  • Chemotherapy , often called chemo, is used to kill faulty stem cells. Chemo may also be used to prevent normal stem cells from becoming defective cells.

  • Bone stimulating hormone stimulates bone marrow cells to make more RBCs.

Tests:

  • Blood tests can show the number of RBCs, WBCs, and platelets. They may also show if your blood cells are working correctly.

  • A bone marrow biopsy is a procedure to take a small amount of bone marrow from the bone in your hip. It will help your caregiver see how many and what kind of blood forming cells are in your bone marrow.

Treatment:

  • A blood transfusion may be given to increase RBCs or other blood cells.

  • A blood or bone marrow stem cell transplant is a procedure to put bone marrow or stem cells in your blood through an IV. The stem cells should go to your bone marrow and begin to make new, healthy blood cells.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Myelodysplastic Syndromes (Inpatient Care)

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