Plasmapheresis is a medical treatment that involves removing blood plasma from the body and replacing it with fresh plasma or a plasma substitute. This treatment can be used to treat various conditions, including autoimmune diseases, blood disorders, and kidney disease. Houston Plasmapheresis is also sometimes used as a last-resort treatment for certain types of cancer.
However, this procedure is not without risks, and it is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of plasmapheresis with a medical professional before undergoing treatment. Some of the risks you need to know include:
- Infection: There is always a risk of infection whenever the skin is broken, necessary for plasmapheresis. This risk can be minimized by using sterile equipment and avoiding exposure to contaminated surfaces.
- Allergic reactions: Some people may have allergic reactions to the plasma or plasma substitutes used in treatment. These reactions can be serious, so it is important to be aware of them before treatment begins.
- Bleeding: There is also a risk of bleeding during or after plasmapheresis, especially if you have a blood disorder. This risk can be minimized by avoiding injury during the procedure and by using fresh plasma.
Before you settle for this procedure, you need to understand the different benefits, such as:
- Reducing the levels of antibodies in your blood
When medical experts remove the antibodies in your blood, it will help in reducing the autoimmune reaction. Therefore, the procedure is effective in treating conditions such as myasthenia gravis, Goodpasture’s syndrome, and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
- Removing harmful substances from your blood
In some cases, plasmapheresis can be used to remove harmful substances from the blood, such as certain types of immune cells or proteins. It can be beneficial in treating conditions such as TTP (thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura) and HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome).
- Reducing the side effects of certain medications
If you are taking certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs, plasmapheresis can help reduce the side effects of these drugs. It is because the procedure can remove the drug from your blood before it has a chance to cause side effects.
There are some potential candidates for plasmapheresis. This treatment may be an option for people who have:
Plasmapheresis may be an option for people with autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or myasthenia gravis. This treatment can help remove antibodies attacking healthy cells in the body. When the antibodies are removed, the autoimmune disease may go into remission.
Plasmapheresis may also be an option for people with blood disorders such as thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. This treatment can help to remove abnormal blood cells from the body. This option may be particularly beneficial for TTP people, as this disorder can be life-threatening.
This option may also be an option for people with kidney disease. Plasmapheresis can help remove harmful substances from the blood, such as immunoglobulin A (IgA). This treatment may also be beneficial for people with active IgA nephropathy, as it can help prevent this condition from progressing to kidney failure.
Plasmapheresis may also be an option for people with certain types of cancer. This treatment can help to remove cancer cells from the blood. Plasmapheresis may also be used to treat side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea and vomiting.
If you are considering plasmapheresis, your Houston Kidney Specialists Center doctor will need to evaluate your specific case to determine if this treatment is right for you.