08-14-2005, 11:04 AM
After having a kidney biopsy and some tests which confirmed lupus nephritis, I had 14 consecutive sessions of what they call plasma exchange. They literally drain out your blood plasma and replace it with new plasma at the same time.
I lost about 15 kilos after these sessions, which I had gained as a result of the disease.
When I left hospital, I had seizures a week later (high blood pressure) and was hospitalised again. I had another 14 sessions of plasma exhange.
I wanted to know if anyone here with lupus nephritis has done plasma exchange before? And if anyone has useful info. about it I'd be grateful
Best wishes everyone!
08-16-2005, 09:32 AM
Plasma exchange is generally used in the treatment of patients with lupus nephritis. Plasmapheresis (plasma exchange)is a procedure in which your blood is mechanically taken out of your body (just a little at a time) and separated into red blood cells and plasma. The plasma is discarded and replaced with fresh with a solution of frozen plasma, albumin and/or plasma substitute. Sometimes the people call the procedure a plasma exchange, sometimes blood washing". Plasmaphereisis is used to lower the amount of antibodies circulating in the body. Antibodies are part of "Plasma" so by discarding a portion of your plasma the amount of antibodies can be lowered, (sometime significantly).
Plasmapheresis is usually used:
1) To quickly arrest or slow (possibly reverse) the loss of muscle control
2) As maintenance treatment (normal and recurring) if other more tolerated treatments are not sufficient.
The actual act of getting Plasmapheresis has been compared to dialysis. High bore hypodermics are inserted (usually in the arm but possibly in the groin or neck, if necessary) and the blood is directed through tubing to a centrifuge where it is separated into its parts and the plasma replaced.
The reconstituted blood is then sent back into the body. For reasons that are obvious this is a lengthy procedure usually requiring the person having it to lay still for a few hours. For reasons that may be less obvious the procedure can only be done a little at a time. Plasmapheresis is a "course" of "washings" over a few days.
The goal of the procedure is to reduce your antibodies enough to gain relief, but, to leave enough antibodies so that you do not fall victim to germs and viruses. Although considered a relatively safe procedure, there are some risks:
*People with bad hearts or high blood pressure should be extra careful and have a work-up by their cardiologist if possible before hand.
*People have turned up allergic/intolerant of some of the products that are used to replace the plasma.
There is always a risk of contaminated "product", although the quality control procedures are tremendous. Your doctor should be aware of any history of stroke, ulcers etc.
Report any strange sensations or feelings to the Tech performing the procedure at once.
Plasmapheresis is not a cure, but it can temporarily reduce the level of antibodies that attack the neuromuscular junction.
It does not prevent the production of more antibodies. Therefore, sooner or later the antibodies will return. An
immunosuppressive drug may be used to reduce/slow the production of the antibodies.
Let me know if this information has been helpful to you or if you need more.
I wish you the best of luck with your treatments
Peace and Blessings