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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.


The week before your child's procedure:

  • Tell your child's healthcare provider about all medicines he or she currently takes. The provider will tell you if your child needs to stop any medicine for the procedure, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to give or not give on the day of the procedure.
  • For several days before his or her procedure, your child may need to eat foods high in calcium, such as milk and yogurt. Have him or her drink more liquids as directed.
  • Your child may need medicine to increase the number of stem cells in his or her blood. This includes injections for about 5 days before stem cell harvesting. Your child may need blood or urine tests before having his or her stem cells harvested.

The day of your child's procedure:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery on your child. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Give only the medicines your child's healthcare provider told you to give.


What will happen:

  • Your child's healthcare provider will insert an IV catheter into your child's vein, usually in an arm. The healthcare 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 or her blood. Then the machine returns the blood to your child's body through another IV catheter inserted into the other arm.
  • Providers will watch your child for pain or tingling in his or her mouth, hands, or feet. 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.


  • Your child has bone or muscle pain.
  • Your child seems more upset or cries more than usual.
  • Your child has less energy or sleeps more than usual.
  • Your child has a fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's procedure, medicine, or care.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Your child has chest pain.
  • Your child faints.
  • Your child has trouble breathing.


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.

Care Agreement

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.

© Copyright Merative 2023 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

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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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.