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Therapeutic Apheresis

Therapeutic apheresis is a treatment that separates and filters the blood of a patient to remove harmful substances from the body. These harmful substances are most commonly proteins that attack the patient’s body (antibodies) or parts of the patient’s own blood that has become dysfunctional (e.g. sickle cell disease or leukemia). If needed, this treatment is also able to give healthy donor blood to the patient as the harmful substance is being removed. 

Therapeutic apheresis has been used at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center for many years to successfully treat many hematologic, neurologic, renal, rheumatic, and metabolic disorders. Our compassionate and experienced apheresis team specializes in the treatment of these disorders while providing each patient with exceptional care. Through the use of state-of-the-art equipment, we are able to safely filter a patient’s blood and monitor for necessary transfusions. Treatment plans are customized for each patient’s specific needs.

If you or a loved one is facing a disorder that could be treated with Therapeutic Apheresis, you can be assured that we will strive to provide you with the highest quality care.

Therapeutic apheresis can treat a wide variety of clinical conditions. The most common include: 

  • Myasthenia Gravis

  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome

  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy

  • Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura

  • Sickle Cell Disease

  • Acute Leukemia

This list is far from complete as many, many other conditions can be treated with this therapy.  Your provider can help determine if Therapeutic Apheresis is right for your condition.

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This treatment removes the patient’s plasma after the blood is separated into its cellular components. The removed plasma is replaced with albumin or donor plasma. This treatment is very effective at removing antibodies as well as other substances in the plasma. It can be used as a standard treatment or as an adjunct therapy in combination with medicines and/or surgery.

This treatment can help to reduce or eliminate the patient’s symptoms and/or prevent further destruction of involved organs or systems. Also, TPE can replace a deficient factor, as in systemic thrombotic microangi¬opathy.

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RBC exchanges remove dysfunctional red blood cells from a patient while replacing it with healthy donor red blood cells. It is valuable for transfusion management of sickle cell disease and various types of anemia in adults and children.

Compared to simple transfusion and manual exchange, RBCX provides the following advantages: 

  • Rapidly produces the exchange while maintaining isovolemia.

  • Manages iron overload and blood viscosity.

  • Controls Hemoglobin S levels and hematocrit.

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This treatment separates the blood into components and then removes the platelets from the blood.  Platelet depletion is used to treat patients with essential thrombocytosis or essential thrombocythemia by reducing the amount of platelets in the blood. As a result, hyperviscosity, or the risk on hyperviscosity is prevented. 

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The objective of this procedure is to reduce highly elevated white blood cell counts in order to prevent or to treat leukostatic syndrome. Therapeutic white blood cell depletion is a symptomatic treatment of hyperleukocytosis in acute leukemia. On rare occasion, it may also be used for chronic leukemia.

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