(Plasma Exchange; Therapeutic Plasma Exchange)
Reasons for Procedure
- Autoimmune diseases—conditions that occur when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs
- Neurological diseases—disorders affecting the nervous system
- Very high levels of cholesterol that are not reduced by diet and medicines
- Toxins that can get into your blood
- Anaphylaxis—a dangerous allergic reaction to the solutions used in plasma replacement, which usually starts with itching, wheezing, or a rash.
- Mild allergic reaction to the procedure—may cause fever, chills, or rash
- Drop in blood pressure
- Bruising or swelling
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- 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.
- Eat a well-balanced meal before going for treatment, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.
- Wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that can easily be pulled above the elbows.
- Bring a book or personal music player to help pass the time during the procedure.
- Empty your bladder before the procedure.
Description of the Procedure
|Long-Duration Catheter Placement in Shoulder and Groin|
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Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
- A single plasmapheresis treatment can take 1 to 3 hours.
- The length of treatment will depend on your body size and the amount of plasma that needs to be exchanged.
- You will most likely need to have several treatment sessions per week for two weeks or more.
- Frequency of treatments will depend on your diagnosis.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- The procedure is usually done outside of the hospital. In such cases, you will be allowed to leave after a short resting period.
- In some instances, hospitalization is required. Length of stay will depend on your diagnosis.
- Avoid hot foods or beverages for at least two or three hours after treatment. They can dilate blood vessels and may make you feel light-headed.
- Avoid sun and hot weather on the day of treatment.
- Avoid hot showers and saunas on the day of treatment.
- To lessen the chance of excessive bleeding, do not shave or cut your fingernails for at least 4-6 hours after treatment.
- You can usually return to your regular activities the day of your treatment.
- Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .
Call Your Doctor
- Excessive bruising, bleeding, or swelling at the needle insertion sites
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Excessive itching or rash
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
- Cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain, fatigue, stiffness, or other new symptoms
- Yellowish tone to your skin or eyes
Muscular Dystrophy Association http://www.mdausa.org/
Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, Inc. http://www.myasthenia.org/
Canadian Hemophelia Society http://www.hemophilia.ca/en
Muscular Dystrophy Canada http://www.muscle.ca/
Facts about plasmapheresis. Muscular Dystrophy Association website. Available at: http://static.mda.org/publications/PDFs/FA-Plasmapheresis.pdf. Accessed April 23, 2007.
Plasmapheresis. CHC Wausau Hospital Medical Library and Patient Education website. Available at: http://www.chclibrary.org/micromed/00060980.html. Accessed September 27, 2005.
Plasmapheresis. Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, Inc. website. Available at: http://www.myasthenia.org/LivingwithMG/InformationalMaterials.aspx. Accessed April 23, 2007.
Plasmapheresis. Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, Inc. website. Available at: http://www.myasthenia.org. Accessed September 22, 2005.
Plasmapheresis. Myasthenia Gravis Association of Western Pennsylvania website. Available at: http://www.mgawpa.org/html/plasmapheresis.html. Accessed April 23, 2007.
- Reviewer: Igor Puzanov, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/26/2012 -