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Veno-occlusive disease (VOD)

Veno-occlusive disease (VOD), which is also called sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (SOS), happens when the small blood vessels that lead into the liver and are inside the liver become blocked. VOD is caused by high doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy given before an allogeneic stem cell transplant. It develops in the first few weeks after a stem cell transplant and can be mild to severe.

Symptoms of VOD include:

  • jaundice
  • liver tenderness (under the ribs on the right side of the body)
  • ascites
  • sudden weight gain
  • liver enlargement
  • liver failure

Preventing and managing VOD

The drug defibrotide (Prociclide) may be used to prevent or treat VOD.

Most people have mild to moderate VOD. Some people recover without treatment within a few weeks or after they get more of the drugs given to suppress the immune system.

Sometimes VOD is severe and can lead to liver failure. If this happens, a liver transplant may be needed.

allogeneic

Referring to DNA, cells, tissues or organs taken (harvested) from a donor to be given to a recipient who is a close, but not identical, genetic match.

For example, an allogeneic stem cell transplant takes blood or bone marrow from a donor (usually a first-degree relative) and gives it to a recipient.

jaundice

A condition in which the skin and whites of the eyes become yellow and urine is dark yellow.

Jaundice may be caused by high levels of bilirubin (a substance formed when red blood cells break down) in the blood. It can also result from liver problems or a blocked bile duct.

ascites

Abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen.

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