Graft versus host disease in oncology nursing practice

Lieow, Yuuki & Christensen, Martin (2014) Graft versus host disease in oncology nursing practice. British Journal of Nursing, 23(10), S4-S10.

View at publisher



Gastrointestinal graft-versus-host disease (GI-GvHD) is extremely debilitating and is multifactorial in its causative factors, management and treatment. It is an exaggeration of normal physiological mechanisms wherein the donor immune system attempts to rid itself of the host. The inflammatory process that follows has the benefit of providing an anti-tumour effect for many diseases, but unfortunately in patients undergoing human stem-cell transplantation, the nature of the inflammation can result in disability, wasting and death.


The aim of this article is to discuss the pathophysiology of this often misunderstood or misdiagnosed condition, as well as its signs and symptoms, management and considerations for nursing care. Considerations for nursing practice: While the medical management is aimed at minimising GvHD through the reduction of T-cell production and proliferation and gastrointestinal decolonisation, the nursing care is often focused on the signs and symptoms that can have the most prominent impact on patients.


GI-GvHD has serious life-threatening complications, namely wasting syndrome, diarrhoea and dehydration. The basis of signs and symptomology is easily recognisable owing to the stages of progression through the human stem-cell transplantation process. Oncology nurses are in a prime position to identify these serious risks, initiate treatment immediately and collaborate effectively within the multidisciplinary team to minimise GvHD onset and provide expert support to patients, family and caregivers.

Impact and interest:

0 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 73193
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Oncology
DOI: 10.12968/bjon.2014.23.Sup10.S4
ISSN: 0966-0461
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Deposited On: 03 Jul 2014 00:26
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2014 21:31

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page