What is Plasma Exchange?

Plasma exchange, also known as Plasmapheresis, is done to exchange plasma in the blood. Plasma is the liquid part of the blood that does not contain cells. Once the plasma is removed, fresh plasma or a plasma substitute is added back to the blood. It is used to remove the Macromolecular Waste Substances in patient's blood.

Plasma Exchange

What are the functions of Plasma Exchange?

- Short term effects:

● Clearing of circulating harmful components (protein bound toxics, monoclonal gammaglobulins, circulating immune complexes);

● Vascular rheologic parameters improvement ( particularly aimed in vasculitis and microcirculation impairment );

- Mid term effects :

● Clearing properties of PE relieve the macrophagic sytem cells in dysimmune disease, hitherto increasing their ability to remove immunoglobulin and immune complexes,

● By removing antibodies PE could amplify their secreting cells sensitivity to immunosuppression drugs (some autoimmune diseases with auto-antibodies )

- Long term effects (poorly known) :

● Immuno-modulation

● Globally PE clear plasma protein or protein bound toxics and generate quick immunosuppression. They are of limited use in diseases where a rapid removal of high molecular weight toxics and immunosuppression is aimed (often associated to immunosuppressive drugs);

What are the side effects of Plasma Exchange?

- Bleeding may appear, if you use frequent plasma exchange.

- It doesn't focuses on the root cause of the disease, thereby, it cannot prevent the relapse, but it also doesn't affect your current treatment.

- The possible complications of Plasma Exchanges including Hematoma (on the injection site), inflammation, pneumothorax.

- It may lead to Extracorporeal circulation clotting.

- You may experience the following condition, that is, low blood pressure, bleeding, edema and the lost of some substances in the blood.

Plasma Exchange

What are the features of Plasma Exchange?

- It shows promising effects in treating the following kidney diseases: anti-glomerular basement membrane disease, Acute Glomerulonephritis, serious Focal Segmental Glomerulonephritis, Lupus Nephritis, crescent Glomerulonephritis, immune kidney disease, lipoprotein glomerulopathy,

- It deals with Rheumatism immunological diseases, such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Rheumatism immunological diseases, systemic sclerosis, antiphospholipid syndrome.

- It works in immune nervous system disease, including myasthenia gravis, Guillain-Barrè syndrome, myasthenic syndrome, multiple sclerosis etc.

- It is useful in digestive system disease, including severe hepatitis, severe liver failure, hepatic encephalopathy, hyperbilirubinemia.

- It is used in blood disease, such as Huppert's disease, leukemia, lymphoma etc.

- It works in other disease, such as chronic Portability disease, drug overdose, autoimmune thyroid disease etc.

What are the Plasma Exchange facts?

- The utilization ratio of Plasma Exchange in various diseases is 26% (kidney disease), 15% (nervous system disease), 12% (rheumatism), 11% (blood disease), 8% (liver failure), 8% metabolic endocrine disease, paraproteinemia, 13% others (severe poisoning or myocardosis).

- It rarely causes complications. In a survey involved with 20,000 cases, the complications only appears in 4.3% of them.

Dos and don'ts of Plasma Exchanges

- avoid inflammation

- After session you shall stand up progressively, may have a meal and go back home but you may be tired during days of treatment.

- Wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that can easily be pulled above the elbows.

- Eat a well-balanced meal before going for treatment, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.

- Review your regular medicines with your doctor. You may be asked to stop taking some drugs.

- Arrange to have someone drive you home from the hospital.

- Drink plenty of noncaffeinated and nonalchoholic beverages.

- Bring a book or personal music player to help pass the time during the procedure.

- Empty your bladder before the procedure.