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Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Harvesting in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

Peripheral blood stem cell harvesting is a procedure to remove stem cells from your child's blood. The stem cells can be given to your child or to someone else to fight a disease.


Before your child's procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child 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 child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

During your child's procedure:

  • Your child's healthcare provider will insert an IV into your child's vein, usually in the arm. The provider will then attach the catheter to a machine called a blood cell separator. This machine collects your child's blood and separates the stem cells from his blood. Then the machine returns the blood to your child's body through another IV catheter inserted into the other arm.
  • Healthcare providers will watch for pain or tingling in your child's mouth, hands, or feet during the procedure. The procedure usually takes 3 to 5 hours a day over a period of 1 to 3 days. Stem cells can be used right away or frozen and used later.

After your child's procedure:

Your child will be taken to a room to rest. He or she will be monitored closely for any problems. Do not let your child get out of bed until his or her healthcare provider says it is okay. He or she will then be able to go home or be taken to a hospital room.

  • Medicines may be given to prevent or treat pain, nausea, or a bacterial infection.
  • Your child may feel tired for several days after the procedure.


Calcium levels in your child's blood may decrease and cause numbness and tingling in his or her mouth, hands, or feet. The procedure may decrease the number of platelets in your child's blood and increase the risk for bleeding. Rarely, the procedure may cause fainting or vomiting.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.

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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.

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