The process of Apheresis has opened new avenues in the treatment of a wide range of conditions

Apheresis is a medical process in which a person’s blood is passed through an apparatus that separates and withdraws one constituent (such as plasma, leukocytes, or platelets) and returns the remainder to circulation in the person’s body. Blood is literally washed! How is blood ‘washed’? Different processes are used depending on the component needed. However, Centrifugation is the most common method adopted. Here, the components of whole bloodare separated within an instrument that is essentially designed as a centrifuge.The required component(s) is withdrawn and the remainingcomponents re-transfused.

Why is Apheresis done?

Apheresis may be done to collect a specific blood component from a donor (donor apheresis) or as therapy for certain diseases (therapeutic apheresis).

Donor Apheresis & its significance.:

A couple of hours of your life and mild discomfort! That is all it could take to save a life!! Donors are required for different types of apheresis: plasma exchange, removal of white blood cells, removal of platelets and removal of red blood cells. Donor apheresis is done to collect platelet units from single donors. These benefit people with blood disorders, certain types of cancer and patients who have had liver transplants. Patients with low white cell counts, benefit from infusions of granulocy(white cells). Another significant role of apheresis is in the collection of stem cells and related cells for bone marrow transplants. Therapeutic Apheresis is when conventional therapies fail This is an option when conventional therapies become ineffective in treating chronic diseases, where the blood’s plasma constituents interfere with the functioning of the immune system. In this process, whole blood is separated into its major components, the abnormalities are removed, and the ‘treated blood’ is re-transfused into the patient. The blood is ‘treated’ to modify how the cells work so that other treatments are more effective. Therapeutic Apheresis may be used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, blood dyscrasias, sicklecell anemia and other malignancies.The types of Therapeutic Apheresis:

There are Two major therapeutic apheresis procedures, namely:

  • Plasma exchange, which could be life saving in certain neurological, rheumatological, dermatological, renal and haematological conditions.
  • Red cell exchange, which is generally used in conditions like sickle cell anaemia and related conditions, poisoning etc.

Sophisticated infrastructure for an efficient experience:

Apheresis can be done using a dialysis machine, but this is an inefficient collection operation. Sometimes even as many as five transfusion cycles do not result in any improvement in the patient. On the other hand, using specialized and more sophisticated equipment such as the Cobe Spectra or the Spectra Optia, like MIOT International, yields as much as three times the amount of plasma. Equally crucial is the training, hands on experience and expertise of the doctors, nurses and technicians. It is they who ensure that the process is a pleasant one with excellent results.

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