Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Harvesting


  • Stem cells are important cells because they can divide and change into many different types of cells that your body needs. Blood stem cells can be used to treat certain types of cancer and other diseases. Peripheral blood stem cell harvesting is a procedure that removes stem cells from your blood. You will be connected to a machine by tubes that enter your blood vessels. Your blood will run through this machine and back into your body. During this process, your stem cells will be pulled out of the blood.

  • After harvesting the stem cells, they can be put back into your body or given to someone else. When your healthy stem cells are given to a person with a disease, they will become more healthy and may even be cured of their disease. If your stems cells are being harvested for your own use, you will get treatment for your disease after harvesting. Once this treatment is complete, your stem cells will be put back in your body. Ask your caregiver for more information about stem cell transplant.


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.


  • Before harvesting, the medicine that you take may cause body aches, bone pain, or headaches. You may be tired during the day, feel sick to your stomach, or have trouble sleeping at night. There have been very rare reports of the medicine causing serious problems. These problems include your spleen (an organ in your abdomen) bursting and blood clots forming in your blood vessels.

  • During harvesting, you may feel tingling in your fingers or around your mouth. Let your caregiver know if this happens. You may have chills, feel shaky, or be nauseated during harvesting. You may also feel uncomfortable because of the IV or central line. If you are going to have a central line inserted, ask your caregiver about any additional risks this procedure has.

  • After harvesting, you may feel tired and not have much energy. This may last for a few days. The amount of platelets in your blood may become low after harvesting. Platelets help you stop bleeding if you are cut. You may bleed more easily if your platelets are low. If more stem cells are needed, blood stem cell harvesting may need to be done a second time.


Before your procedure:

  • 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.

  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

  • CVP line: A CVP line is also called a central line. It is an IV catheter or tube. It is put into a large blood vessel near your collarbone, in your neck, or in your groin. The groin is the area where your abdomen meets your upper leg. Your caregiver may choose to use a CVP line rather than an IV to carry your blood during harvesting. Ask you caregiver about the risks and benefits of using a CVP line.

  • Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.

  • Pain medicine: Caregivers will give you medicine to help keep you comfortable. Tell caregivers if your pain is increasing. Do not wait until the pain is very bad to ask for pain medicine.

During your procedure:

  • Your IV or central line is attached to a machine. Blood leaves your body through the IV, and travels through the tubing into the machine. The machine removes stem cells from your blood. The stem cells go into a bag attached to the machine. The machine returns the rest of your blood to your body through another IV tube.

  • You may need to have stem cell harvesting done for 3 to 5 hours each day, for 1 to 3 days. After your stem cells are collected, they will be checked to make sure they are healthy. Stem cells can be used right away, or they may be frozen and used later. If the stem cells are being harvested for your own use, they can be frozen and stored until you need them.

After your procedure:

You are taken to a room to rest. Do not get out of bed until caregivers say it is okay. After caregivers see that you are okay, you may be able to go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you are taken to your room.

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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.