Plasmapheresis is a process in which a machine is used to separate certain cells that are contained in the plasma in our blood. After the plasmapheresis process, the separated cells are returned to the patient’s blood. The plasmapheresis process is used on patients who have excess antibodies present in their blood. The process of plasmapheresis is also used on patients for therapeutic use. What happens is that in certain diseases our own immune system, due to some accidents or causes, starts attacking its own tissues. The antibodies produced during this process attack the body while circulating in the blood and it is through plasmapheresis that these are removed and the clean red blood cells are returned to the patient’s body.
Up till now the only remedy for this problem was to use pills or drugs. However these drugs often were so strong that they would result in serious side effects that made them difficult to take for the patient. However with latest advancements and technology mankind has been able to come up with another cure called plasmapheresis. It is through this process that doctors decided to completely remove the antibodies instead of giving medication to destroy it. Plasmapheresis is often called dialysis treatment as well. Some also call plasmapheresis the plasma exchange. Now with this new process called plasmapheresis patients do not have to take those strong drugs and suffer from any side effects.
In most cases doctors administering plasmapheresis procedures give their patients medications as well but only in small doses that have minimal side effects on the patient. The plasmapheresis treatment is quite a lengthy one and mostly takes several hours and is done on outpatient basis. Patients getting plasmapheresis do not feel any pain but the process itself is quite uncomfortable to bear. The number of times that a patient needs to undergo plasmapheresis varies from one case to another depending on the severity of the disease. On average, the plasmapheresis is carried out in around six to ten treatments that are spread over a time period of two to ten weeks. Some doctors prefer to carry out plasmapheresis on a patient only once a week while others are fine performing plasmapheresis twice a week.
Since the advent of this latest technique called plasmapheresis it is now widely being used for multiple diseases and disorders like the chronic demyelinating polyneuropathy, Guillian – Barre syndrome, the Lambert – Eaton syndrome and a few others.
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