Apheresis
(Hemapheresis, Pheresis)

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What is apheresis?

Apheresis is a medical procedure that involves removing whole blood from a donor or patient and separating the blood into individual components so that one particular component can be removed. The remaining blood components then are re-introduced back into the bloodstream of the patient or donor.

Apheresis is used for the collection of donor blood components (such a platelets or plasma) as well as for the treatment for certain medical conditions in which a part of the blood that contains disease-provoking elements is removed.

Apheresis is also called pheresis or hemapheresis. The terminology used may also reflect the component of blood that is being removed, such as:

  • Plasma (plasmapheresis)
  • Platelets (plateletpheresis)
  • Leukocytes (leukapheresis or leukopheresis)
  • Lymphocytes (lymphopheresis or lymphapheresis)
  • Red blood cells (erythropheresis)

Total plasma exchange (removal of plasma and replacement with fresh frozen plasma) can also be performed using the apheresis procedure. It is also used for the collection of stem cells from the peripheral blood.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/11/2014

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