(Plasma Exchange; Therapeutic Plasma Exchange)
Reasons for Procedure
- Autoimmune diseases
- Neurological diseases
- Very high levels of cholesterol that are not reduced by diet and medications
- 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, such as fever, chills, or rash
- Drop in blood pressure
- Bruising or swelling
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Review your regular medications 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.
- 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
- Feeling lightheaded, or fainting
- Severe pain
- Cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain, fatigue, stiffness, or other new symptoms
Muscular Dystrophy Association http://www.mdausa.org
Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America http://www.myasthenia.org
Canadian Hemophelia Society http://www.hemophilia.ca
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. Updated July 2005. Accessed May 24, 2013.
Muscular dystrophy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Accessed May 24, 2013.
Myasthenia gravis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated March 7, 2013. Accessed May 24, 2013.
Plasmapheresis. Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, Inc. website. Available at: http://www.myasthenia.org/LivingwithMG/InformationalMaterials.aspx. Accessed May 24, 2013
Plasmapheresis. Myasthenia Gravis Association of Western Pennsylvania website. Available at: http://www.mgawpa.org/pdfs/PlasmapheresisLH.pdf. Accessed May 24, 2013.
- Reviewer: Igor Puzanov, MD; Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 05/2013 -
- Update Date: 05/24/2013 -