Apheresis (Hemapheresis, Pheresis)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What diseases can be treated with apheresis?

When used in a therapeutic manner, the apheresis procedure is individualized regarding the frequency of treatments, the volume of blood or components to be removed, and the type of solution used for volume replacement.

The following list of conditions for which apheresis may be of benefit is not all-inclusive. Apheresis can be used in the treatment of:

  • myasthenia gravis,
  • Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia,
  • Goodpasture's syndrome,
  • familial hypercholesterolemia,
  • hyperviscosity syndrome (such as mixed cryoglobulinemia, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura),
  • the HELLP syndrome of pregnancy,
  • clogging of blood vessels (leukostasis) cause by severely elevated white blood count in leukemia, and
  • severely elevated platelet counts in leukemia or myeloproliferative disorders.

Apheresis can also be effective in certain cases of:

  • systemic lupus with life-threatening complications,
  • severe vasculitis,
  • polymyositis or dermatomyositis,
  • severe rheumatoid arthritis,
  • rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis,
  • chronic autoimmune polyneuropathy, and
  • in cases of solid organ transplantation with a high risk of antibody-mediated rejection of the transplant.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/23/2015
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  • Apheresis - Indications

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