Oral mucositis in pediatric patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: clinical outcomes in a context of specialized oral care using low-level laser therapy

Pediatr Transplant. 2015 May;19(3):316-25. doi: 10.1111/petr.12440. Epub 2015 Feb 13.


OM is a painful inflammatory condition of the oral mucosa, derived from the toxic effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. High OM severity is frequently present in HSCT pediatric patients, who exhibit multiple painful ulcers that limit their mastication and swallowing, leading to poor nutritional status. Few studies have demonstrated OM clinical outcomes in young patients undergoing HSCT. Feasibility of oral care and LLLT on OM prophylaxis and treatment is also poorly discussed. The aim of this study was to describe a specialized oral care protocol that included LLLT for pediatric patients undergoing transplantation and to demonstrate the clinical outcomes after OM prevention and treatment. Data from OM-related morbidity were collected from 51 HSCT pediatric patients treated daily with LLLT, followed by standard oral care protocols. All the patients, even infants and young children, accepted the daily oral care and LLLT well. The majority (80.0%) only exhibited erythema in the oral mucosa, and the maximum OM degree was WHO II. Patients who had undergone autologous and HLA-haploidentical transplants showed OM with the lowest severity. The frequency of total body irradiation and methotrexate prescriptions was higher in adolescents when compared with infants (p = 0.044), and adolescents also exhibited OM more severely than infants and young children. We found that good clinical outcomes were obtained using this therapy, mainly in regard to the control of OM severity and pain reduction in the oral cavity. Specialized oral care, including LLLT, is feasible and affordable for HSCT pediatric patients, although some adaptation in the patient's oral hygiene routine must be adopted with help from parents/companions and clinical staff.

Keywords: hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; low-level laser therapy; oral health care; oral mucositis; pediatric patients.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Inflammation
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Lasers*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Stomatitis / diagnosis*
  • Stomatitis / etiology*
  • Transplantation Conditioning
  • Treatment Outcome