What is graft versus host disease? | Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation (AAMDSIF) Return to top.

What is graft versus host disease?

Graft versus host disease (GVHD) is a common complication of bone marrow/stem cell transplantation. It is caused when the donor's immune cells (the "graft"), now in the patient, react to the patient's body (the "host") as if it was foreign.

Typically, GVHD attacks the skin (causing red rash, itching, yellowing), liver (causing elevated liver test results and yellowing of the eyes), and gastrointestinal tract (causing diarrhea, nausea, cramping). GVHD can range from mild to very severe. In some cases, GVHD can be prevented or treated with immunosuppressive drug therapy. Symptoms should be reported to your doctor immediately.

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