Plasmapheresis (also known as PLEX, TPE or plasma exchange) treats a variety of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barre syndrome (a rare condition in which the immune system attacks healthy nerve cells), among other diseases.
Normally, the antibodies in plasma help fight disease, but in people with autoimmune diseases, the antibodies in their plasma attack healthy cells in the body. Plasmapheresis prevents this from happening by removing the plasma containing antibodies and replacing it with new plasma.
Treatment can occur at the hospital or as an outpatient. Prior to beginning treatment, you may need to come to the hospital to have a tube, called a central venous catheter, placed in your chest. If you will be receiving plamapheresis for an extended period of time, you may be referred to a surgeon for a fistula, which is a more permanent way of accessing the blood.
Note: Patients who receive a central venous catheter must book an appointment to remove the catheter after all treatments are complete.
How to prepare for plasmapheresis
- Eat a diet high in protein and low in sodium, potassium and phosphorous a few days before treatment
- Get a good night's sleep the night before treatment
- Eat a nutritious meal and drink plenty of fluids the morning before treatment
- Make sure your vaccinations are up to date
- Avoid smoking
For more information, contact us.