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This section explains less common problems that may sometimes result from donor stem cell (allogeneic) transplant.
Sometimes the infusion of stem cells doesn’t work and the donor cells don’t produce enough new blood cells. This is known as graft failure.
Primary graft failure, or failure to engraft, is when the donor stem cells have failed to produce any new blood cells after six weeks.
Secondary graft failure, or graft dysfunction, is when the donor cells begin to produce new blood cells but the graft gradually begins to fail.
Graft rejection is when the body rejects the donor stem cells and no new blood cells are produced.
If the graft fails to produce enough new blood cells, it can lead to repeated infections, bruising, bleeding and anaemia. Total graft failure is rare, and the only way to treat it is with another infusion of stem cells from the donor. Without this, a person will only live for a short time.
Content last reviewed: 1 December 2011
Next planned review: 2013
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