Stem Cell Transplant Program

A Patient-Centered Approach to Stem Cell Transplant

An autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) is a procedure in which high-dose chemotherapy is used to treat certain cancers. The procedure was formerly known as a bone marrow transplant. However, as hematopoietic (blood forming) stem cells from blood are now used, the procedure is referred to as a peripheral blood stem cell transplant.

A stem cell transplant “rescues” your body with an infusion of healthy blood forming cells following high dose chemotherapy. The infused stem cells migrate to bone marrow where they produce blood cells that your body and immune system require.

We offer a patient-centered approach that is comprehensive and caring. Our goal is to provide our patients and their families mental, physical and emotional support during a very stressful time. During the hospitalization, a number of doctors participate in the care of transplant patients. Lahey Hospital & Medical Center is a teaching hospital, and inpatients may be seen by physicians-in-training (interns, residents and fellows) and medical students. In all cases, however, their involvement will be supervised by a physician on the staff of Lahey Hospital & Medical Center.

In This Section

What to Expect from an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant

Stem Cell Transplant Hospitalization

At Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, our specialists help you understand what to expect before and after an autologous stem cell transplant.

As a patient at Lahey, you will have a private room during your hospitalization that has special air filtration systems to keep the air germ-free to minimize infection. Your room includes a television, internet access, telephone, microwave and a small refrigerator.

Your First Week

During the first week, you will have high-dose chemotherapy. Usually, this lasts for several days, and you get medications to prevent nausea. The type of chemotherapy you receive depends on your specific type of cancer. Your blood counts begin to decrease a few days to a week after chemotherapy. Family members and friends can visit as long as they are in good health.

The day after your high-dose chemotherapy finishes, you will receive your previously collected stem cells into a vein. The infusion usually takes 20 to 90 minutes, depending on the volume of stem cells.

Your Second & Third Weeks

During the second and third weeks, your blood counts will be low. You may need red blood cell and platelet transfusions. You will receive medication to promote stem cell growth. If you develop a fever, you will receive antibiotics. The time to reach engraftment (when the blood-forming cells start to make new blood cells) depends on several factors. Usually, white blood cells are the first to grow in about 10 to 14 days after the stem cell infusion.

Going Home

Your hospital stay usually lasts about three weeks. The length of your stay may vary. After discharge, you return to the Hematology Clinic to see our physicians and to have blood tests.

Patient Resources

Stem Cell Transplant Information

At Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, we have patient resources to help you understand what to expect from an autologous stem cell transplant. Our team can answer your questions and help you find additional information.

Resources to consider:

20th Anniversary ASCT Program

Meet the Team

Kurt F. Heim, MD
Kurt F. Heim, MD Laboratory Medicine Pathology
Tarun Kewalramani, MD
Tarun Kewalramani, MD Hematology/Oncology
Kathleen D. McConnell, NP
Kathleen D. McConnell, NP Hematology/Oncology

Make a Stem Cell Transplant Referral

If you are a referring physician, please contact our autologous stem cell transplant coordinator about your patient: