Apheresis is a procedure that removes substances from a patient's blood that are contributing to patient’s disease or condition.
Types of inpatient and outpatient apheresis procedures include Extracorporeal Photopheresis (ECP), Leukapheresis (White Blood Cell Depletion), Plasmapheresis (Therapeutic Plasma Exchange), Plateletpheresis (Platelet Depletion), Red Blood Cell (RBC) Exchange and Therapeutic Phlebotomy.
What Happens During the Apheresis Procedure?
Apheresis involves removing whole blood from the patient and passing the blood through an apparatus that separates the blood into different components. After the blood has been separated, and problem substances are removed, the remaining blood and blood components are returned to the patient. The procedure may take 1 to 4 hours.
Depending on the type of procedure, an anticoagulant (commonly citrate for therapeutic plasma exchange and heparin for ECP) is used during the procedure to prevent clotting within the machine. Common side effects include tingling around the lips/fingers, chest vibrations, abdominal discomfort, a cold feeling, being dizzy or light-headed, nausea, and occasional fatigue.