Plasmapheresis is the removal, treatment, and return of blood plasma from blood circulation. The method can also be used to collect plasma for further manufacturing into a variety of medications. It is also known as therapeutic plasma exchange.
Usually plasmapheresis is used to remove antibodies from the bloodstream in diseases like Guillain-Barré syndrome, or to control severity in diseases like myasthenia gravis.
The basic procedure consists of removal of blood, separation of blood cells from plasma, and return of these blood cells to the body’s circulation, diluted with fresh plasma or a substitute. During the course of a single session, two to three liters of plasma is removed and replaced.
The procedures may cause a mild allergic reaction, leading to fever, chills, and rash.
Plasmapheresis is commonly used in Guillain-Barré syndrome, Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, Goodpasture’s syndrome, Hyperviscosity syndromes like cryoglobulinemia, paraproteinemia,Waldenström macroglobulinemia, Myasthenia gravis, Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura,Wegener’s granulomatosis, Lambert-Eaton Syndrome, Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome, Microscopic polyangiitis, Recurrent focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis in the transplanted kidney, HELLP syndrome, Refsum disease, Behcet syndrome, HIV-related neuropathy, Graves’ disease in infants and neonates, Pemphigus vulgaris, Multiple sclerosis.