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Mentor/Fellow Article

Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: Implications for Critical Care Nurses

Marlon G. Saria
Tracy K. Gosselin-Acomb
CJON 2007, 11(1), 53-63 DOI: 10.1188/07.CJON.53-63

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is being used increasingly in the treatment of malignant and nonmalignant diseases. The treatment modality has been proven effective but is not without risks. Studies consistently have identified the need for advanced supportive care (e.g., multiple organ dysfunction, vasopressor use, mechanical ventilation) as a negative prognostic indicator in patients who have received HSCT. Among patients who have received HSCT, 15%-40% require critical care monitoring or advanced support. Nurses on intensive care units can positively impact outcomes for transplant recipients when they possess the specialized skills to recognize and promptly intervene when transplant-related complications arise. This article will provide a basic overview of the HSCT process and outline the complications that may necessitate transfer to a higher level of care for specialized skills and equipment in the intensive care setting.

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