To Read Tami's Story from the Beginning

Just CLICK HERE. Her blog begins on March 12, 2009 with a post titled "Tami's Myelodysplasia Diagnosis." Then at the bottom of each post, click on the words "Newer Post" located just below the comments section on each page.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Treatment Options: Transfusions

Tami has received several transfusions to date. They have helped to give her temporary relief from the exhaustion and severe headaches that have been plaguing her for the past 2 weeks. Unfortunately the relief is temporary.

Blood Transfusions as Supportive Care for MDS:

Transfusions are helpful to replace low levels of red blood cells. The transfused blood may reduce symptoms of fatigue, breathing difficulties and will also help to prevent organ stress.

Unfortunately transfusions are not risk free due to the danger of iron overload/toxicity. This occurs when a build up of iron (some is deposited in the body with each blood transfusion) causes permanent damage to the patient's organs, particularly the heart and liver. Some people may develop iron overload after only a few units of transfused blood while for others it could take years. Due to this wide range it's important for doctors to test the iron levels of patients receiving transfusions on a regular basis.

There are drugs called "chelators" that can be used to reduce the levels of iron in the body but there are often undesirable side effects from the drugs themselves.

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