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Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Harvesting

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

What do I need to know about peripheral blood stem cell harvesting?

Peripheral blood stem cell harvesting is a procedure to remove stem cells from your blood. The stem cells can be given to you or to someone else to treat a disease.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

  • Your healthcare provider will tell you how to prepare. Arrange to have someone drive you home when you are discharged.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for the procedure, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of the procedure.
  • Ask if you need to take a calcium supplement or eat foods high in calcium several days before your procedure. Drink more liquids as directed before the procedure.
  • If you are a woman, tell your healthcare provider if you know or think you are pregnant.
  • You will need medicine to increase the number of stem cells in your blood. This includes injections for about 5 days before stem cell harvesting. You may also need blood or urine tests before having your stem cells harvested.

What will happen during the procedure?

  • Your healthcare provider will insert an IV catheter into a vein, usually in your arm. He or she will attach the catheter to a machine called a blood cell separator. This machine collects your blood and separates the stem cells from your blood. Then the machine returns the blood to your body through another IV catheter inserted into your other arm.
  • Tell healthcare providers if you feel pain or tingling in your 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.

What should I expect after the procedure?

You will be taken to a room to rest. You will be monitored closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You 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.
  • You may feel tired for several days after the procedure.

What are the risks of peripheral blood stem cell harvesting?

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

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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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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Further information

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