Plasmapheresis is an often-used procedure to treat many serious health issues, but do you know what Plasmapheresis is? Has your doctor told you about using Plasmapheresis to reduce the symptoms in your condition? Do you want to find out how this condition will help you? Let’s discuss the details then!
What Is Plasmapheresis?
Plasmapheresis is the process during which the plasma, which is the liquid part of the blood, is being separated from the blood cells only to be later replaced with a solution such as saline or albumin. The plasma can also be treated, and once again, with the plasmapheresis process, returned to your body.
Plasmapheresis is often compared to the process of kidney dialysis. The reason being the similarity between these two processes. In both processes, a machine is being used, in the case of plasmapheresis, the affected plasma that contains antibodies that attack our immune system is being removed in order for it to be replaced with either a healthy, clean plasma or a plasma substitute. By doing so, the plasmapheresis process is preventing future attacks on the immune system. However, Plasmapheresis is usually not the only therapy method being applied. It is usually only one part of the variety of treatments that are being used to treat the specific medical condition.
Why Would You Need Plasmapheresis?
The Plasmapheresis procedure is known to help a number of common medical conditions, causing a decline in the present symptoms and an improvement in the general health condition of the patient. In autoimmune conditions, plasmapheresis can help not only to reduce the present symptoms but also to prevent the body from producing more harmful antibodies. The therapy of Plasmapheresis is often applied to patients that have received an organ transplant as a way to reduce the risk of the body rejecting the organ. Plasmapheresis is often a part of the treatment of:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
- Myasthenia gravis
- Neuromyelitis Optica
- Transverse myelitis
How To Prepare For Plasmapheresis?
The first step is to, of course, get informed and get all of your questions answered by your doctor. Your doctor should know all of the prescribed and over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements that you have been taking to control your symptoms and maintain your health. There is usually not a specific preparation process that is required for Plasmapheresis therapy. You are allowed to eat and drink before and even during the procedure. You are, however, required to use the bathroom before the procedure takes place. Your blood pressure, pulse, oxygen levels, and temperature will be measured as a way to properly set the machine and notice any valuable changes in the process.
How Is Plasmapheresis Done?
The process of Plasmapheresis is painless. A local anesthetic will be applied as a way to prevent you from feeling pain. A small tube will be inserted in a vein in your arm or the groin. The tube is used to transfer the blood from your body to the machine, which will make sure to collect it, treat it, and later return it back in your body.
The Plasmapheresis procedure can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, and you will be required to stay still as much as possible during this procedure. After the procedure has been completed, the tube will be removed from your body, and once again, blood tests will be performed as a way to determine the effectiveness of the procedure.
What Are The Side-Effects Of Plasmapheresis?
As with other medical procedures, there are certain potential side-effects and risks with Plasmapheresis as well. However, the side-effects of Plasmapheresis are usually mild and do not represent a life-threatening condition. You can experience dizziness, chills, faintness, nausea, and blurry vision. There is also the risk of an allergic reaction, blood clotting, and infection; however, these risks are often too low for you to worry about them. For the purposes of reducing these potential risks, certain medications will be prescribed to you before the Plasmapheresis procedure takes place.
What Would The Cost Of Plasmapheresis Be?
For most medical conditions, Plasmapheresis is covered by medical insurance. Of course, you will need to talk to your insurer to find out if they are covering medical procedures such as Plasmapheresis in your case. The cost of the Plasmapheresis procedure usually varies from $1,000 to $2,000 per session. The cost can be as high as $5,000 and $10,000 for a five-session course.
Today, we offered answers to some great questions such as what is Plasmapheresis and it’s usual cost. We also discussed the potential side-effects and the preparation steps that you will be required to take. Now, you are ready to allow Plasmapheresis to offer its beneficial effects on your condition.
Doctor, author and fitness enthusiast, Ahmed Zayed, MD, is a surgery resident with a passion for helping people live a happy healthy life. He is the author of numerous health-related books and contributor to several medicine, health and wellbeing.