Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is the leading cause of complications after an allogeneic stem cell transplant. The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center offers a multidisciplinary GVHD Clinic designed to prevent the disease and to provide comprehensive, prompt care for patients who develop it.

If you are experiencing GVHD symptoms after a stem cell transplant, our GVHD Clinic may be right for you. You can make an appointment with our specialists even if your stem cell transplant was not performed at UChicago Medicine. 

Call 1-855-702-8222

Learn More About GVHD and the UChicago Medicine GVHD Clinic

GVHD is a common problem that may occur after an allogeneic stem cell transplant, which is a stem cell transplant that uses donor cells. GVHD happens when donor cells attack the recipient’s tissues causing problems in many parts of the body, including the eyes, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, mouth, skin and more.

There are two main types of GVHD:

  • Acute GVHD typically develops within 100 days of transplantation or when patients are tapered off immune suppression medicines that are designed to prevent GVHD.
  • Chronic GVHD commonly occurs later, more than 100 days after transplantation, but can arise years later.

GVHD symptoms vary by person, and can be mild, moderate or severe. Symptoms can affect day-to-day quality of life and may result in long-term organ damage, especially if treatment is delayed. In some cases, GVHD can be life-threatening, requiring hospitalization. For these reasons, it’s important to seek care as soon as you observe symptoms.

Acute GVHD common symptoms include:

  • Skin: Red rash, itchy or inflamed skin, blistering, peeling skin
  • Gastrointestinal: Abdominal cramping/pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite with weight loss
  • Liver (starts as lab test abnormalities)

Chronic GVHD common symptoms include:

  • Skin: Rash, itchy or red skin, psoriasis-like lesions, tightening skin and muscles, decreased range of motion
  • Mouth: Dryness, mouth sores, gum disease and tooth decay, sensitivity to hot, cold or spicy foods
  • Hair loss
  • Eyes: Vision changes, redness and dry eyes 
  • Gastrointestinal: Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Liver: liver test abnormalities initially, potentially jaundice
  • Lungs: Shortness of breath, persistent cough or wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscles and joints: Weakness, joint stiffness
  • Genitalia: Vaginal dryness, itchy penis or scrotum, pain during intercourse

Our GVHD Clinic is staffed by hematologist-oncologists, nurses and other specialists who are experts in GVHD prevention, treatment and research.

Services include the following:

  • Comprehensive techniques to diagnose and grade GVHD severity:
    • Physical exams
    • Lab tests
    • Tissue biopsies 
  • Focused treatment tailored to your needs:
    • Systemic medicines that are designed to control the overactive immune response of GVHD. These medicines may be given by mouth or IV.
    • Local treatments that may include skin creams, eye drops or mouth rinses to ease symptoms.
  • Coordinated specialty care, because GVHD can affect many organ systems. If needed, other UChicago Medicine specialists in dermatology, ophthalmology, gastroenterology, pulmonology, nutrition and other areas may assist with your care. The GVHD Clinic team will streamline specialty appointments and maintain close communication with all care team members.
  • Access to clinical trials of promising new therapies not widely available. Our team is actively studying the latest treatments for GVHD and regularly have clinical trials investigating novel therapies for this disease.
  • Patient-centered education to help you stay healthy.
  • Follow-up care to maintain long-term control and quality of life.

The GVHD Clinic may be right for you if any of the following applies:

  • Your GVHD is difficult to manage or is steroid refractory acute GVHD
  • You have developed chronic GVHD symptoms more than 100 days after your stem cell transplant. 
  • You have received treatment for chronic or systemic GVHD and symptoms persist. 
  • Your physician has determined prior chronic GVHD treatments are losing effectiveness.

For your convenience, we offer in-person and video visits, including second opinions. Request an appointment with the GVHD Clinic by calling 1-855-702-8222 or by completing the form below.

If you’re getting an allogeneic transplant at UChicago Medicine, you’ll meet with the GVHD Clinic before your transplant to ensure you have all the information you need to understand GVHD, how to spot symptoms and when to seek care. 

If you develop GVHD after transplant, the team that oversaw your stem cell transplant will be your first contact for GVHD assessment and treatment. If you develop chronic or systemic GVHD, the GVHD Clinic team will assist with your care.
Our GVHD Clinic team, together with other UChicago Medicine scientists, is studying new preventive treatments and the latest immunosuppressive medicines through clinical trials. Our team actively communicates with other national and international GVHD specialists to remain at the forefront of evidence-based approaches to care. 

An important feature of our program is comprehensive patient education. This empowers patients with the knowledge to recognize and address potential issues at an early stage when they’re easier to treat.

Graft-Versus-Host Disease Care Team

Our Graft-Versus-Host Disease Clinic is led by Satyajit Kosuri, MD, and extends to include other GVHD experts from several specialties, including medical oncology, dermatology, gastroenterology and nutrition, hepatology, ophthalmology, oral surgery, physical and occupational therapy, pulmonary medicine and more.

Request an Appointment

The information you provide will enable us to assist you as efficiently as possible. A representative will contact you within one to two business days to help you schedule an appointment with the Graft-Versus-Host Disease Clinic.
You can also make an appointment with our providers by:

Scheduling a virtual video visit to see a provider from the comfort of your home

Requesting an online second opinion from our specialists 

To speak to someone directly, please call 1-855-702-8222. If you have symptoms of an urgent nature, please call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.

For Referring Physicians

To refer a patient to the Graft-Versus-Host Disease Clinic, please call 1-855-702-8222.

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Graft-Versus-Host Disease Clinic