Plasmapheresis as a method of treatment for autoimmune diseases
Autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, hashimoto thyroiditis, Graves diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus, vasculitis, some cases of infertility)
What is Plasmapheresis?
Currently, plasmapheresis has been utilized within many different medical centers and universities such as Mayo Clinic. This treatment was created for body detoxification and rehabilitation through cleansing of the blood and has been found to aid in lessening varying symptoms like migraines, inflammation, joint pain, weight gain, etc., which also allows quicker recovery of the body and significant improvement of quality of life.
The blood is made up of cellular elements and fluid (also known as plasma). Plasma contains water as a base and many different substances such as: proteins, clotting factors, lipids particles (like cholesterol), glucose, electrolytes (magnesium, calcium, etc.), antibodies, antigens and their complexes, etc. Plasma also contains excretory products and toxins.
During plasmapheresis treatment, a special machine removes from whole blood a certain part of plasma together with known and lesser-known substances and toxins. Then taken plasma is to be substituted by the equal volume of normal saline to replenish the blood and to create an osmosis gradient so the tissue will unload undesirable substances.
After the procedure, the body quickly creates new, fresh plasma with no toxins and other undesirable components. The basic premise of plasmapheresis is that removal of these substances will reduce further damage to the body, and in many cases, permits reversal of the pathogenic process.
Plasmapheresis procedure in our office is accomplished with an Apheresis machine that uses a centrifuge to separate plasma from blood cellular components using sterile disposable tubing set and needle. Specially trained medical staff operate the apheresis machine and monitor your condition throughout the procedure. The Apheresis machine separates 500cc (1/2 liter) of plasma from the blood and replenish remains with a normal saline. This procedure has to be repeated for the several times (usually tree) to make significant cleansing effect. The procedures can occur consecutively or every other day within the same week. Further treatment varies based on the severity of illness and patient needs.
Steps of the Plasmapheresis Procedure:
To help our patients feel more comfortable, it is important to explain the basic steps:
Step 1: To begin, your blood will be drawn by placing a needle into the arm. Anticoagulant solution is added to the blood to keep it from clotting.
Step 2: The blood and anticoagulant enter the centrifuge of the blood cell separator where the plasma is separated from the other blood components and transferred to a collection bag.
Step 3: A replacement fluid of normal saline is added to replace the volume of plasma that has been removed. The mix of the blood components and replacement fluid is then returned to you through the same needle.
Why Are a Minimum of Three Treatments Necessary?
The immune system creates protein substances called antibodies that circulate throughout the body in the blood plasma and attack viruses and germs. When these auto-antibodies are produced by an abnormal immune system or in larger than necessary amounts they can attack own healthy cells and tissues of the body. It’s common cause of all autoimmune diseases. By utilizing three procedures either consecutively or within a day of each other, the plasmapheresis can help clear the blood, surrounding tissue, and organs of undesirable complexes. This allows the body to produce clean, healthy plasma.
What Has Plasmapheresis Shown to Treat?
Plasmapheresis helps to treat: Infertility, Multiple Sclerosis, PCOS, Reyes Syndrome, Endometriosis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Lupus, Myasthenia Gravis, Para-proteinemic polyneuropathies, Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma, and others. Plasmapheresis improves overall quality of life. If you want information on whether this treatment could help your condition, please make an appointment.
Potential Side Effects
Plasmapheresis is a safe procedure, but side effects can occur. You may have discomfort at the needle site. There may be occasional, nonspecific sensations. It is important to notify the medical staff immediately if you experience any of these symptoms
Commonly Asked Questions
Are there any limitations prior to treatment?
Make sure to abstain from alcohol consumption the day prior, day of, and day after procedure to retain best medical benefits from plasmapheresis.
How long does a procedure take?
This is different from patient to patient, but typically, the procedure takes between 35 minutes to an hour.
How quickly does the procedure work?
Some patients have described immediate positive results. Others have had a delayed positive effect.
How often will I need treatment?
Treatment frequency depends on the disease treated and the patient’s response to the procedure. While some diseases require a short course of treatment, others may require many treatments.
What can I do during the procedure?
You can relax, sleep, read, or meditate, but keep in mind you may have to keep your arms outstretched during the treatment.
Can I have something to eat or drink during a procedure?
Generally, you can eat and drink during your procedure; however, the medical staff will provide you with instructions prior, if there are any limitations.
“After the treatment, I noticed that I began to lose weight, have more energy, have been feeling really well overall and feeling more hormonally balanced.”
“After the treatment, I noticed that I began to sleep better, have more energy for daily activities, and just feeling really good after all.”
“Since the treatment, I have been sleeping better and my back pain has eased up.”
“The first week after treatment, I felt 40 years-old again and my sinuses are better, too.”
“After the procedure, I felt really great and began to notice that I can see and feel a lot of the improvement. I feel big changes within myself and have noticed that each day is getting better and better.”