The liver is responsible for “detoxifying” many of the drugs and chemicals that enter your body. It may become damaged as a result of the chemotherapy drugs used to treat the disease. The small vessels of the liver are very prone to a scarring process that is believed to be started by the high-dose therapy given prior to blood and marrow transplant. This scarring process is known as veno-occlusive disease or VOD.
VOD may occur in up to 50% of BMT patients. VOD shows up as tender, enlarged liver, yellowish discoloration of the skin (jaundice) and weight gain due to fluid retention. Although VOD can potentially be fatal, the liver has a huge capacity to recover from even severe damage.