Therapeutic apheresis includes different types of extracorporeal removal of harmful substances or therapeutically effective components from blood or blood plasma. Today, new treatment methods based on blood filtration enable new therapies for a broad spectrum of patients and indications.
One example is LDL apheresis, which eliminates the cholesterol-containing particle low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from the bloodstream in patients with familial hypercholeseteraemia. LDL-cholesterol, the so called "bad cholesterol", plays a role in the development of arteriosclerosis and increases the risk of coronary diseases, heart attack, an even death. When traditional lipid-lowering treatments may not help to lower the elevated LDL-cholesterol to the goal, LDL apheresis becomes a feasible and effective option.
There are several other diseases and immunological disorders which can be treated extracorporally with our membranes.
Plasma separation essentially means the removal of a plasma fraction from the rest of the blood. Plasma accounts for approximately 55% in the human blood, the remaining 45% is made up of blood cells (platelets, erythrocytes, leucocytes, etc.). Plasma consists of water, proteins, nutrients, hormones, minerals, and other substances and transports albumin and other proteins with vital functions. The removed volume can be replaced by donor plasma.
As this procedure eliminates the harmful substances in the blood plasma together with all other constituents, it is called non-selective plasma separation.
Selective plasma separation is a special type of apheresis, in which the plasma obtained during separation is treated further, cleaned from pathogenic substances, and returned to the patient. This procedure can be specifically targeted at a particular substance.
Methods to clean the plasma can employ one or even more further filtration steps (cascade filtration) or the adsorption, precipitation, or other (chemical) removal of harmful substances.
As a combination of haemodialysis and haemofiltration the process of haemodiafiltration uses both diffusion and enhanced convection.
The patient’s blood is passed through a dialyser with dialysate on the other side of the membrane. Additionally, a substitution fluid is infused into the patient’s blood in the extracorporeal circuit. This infusion can be done either before (pre-dilution haemodiafiltration) or after the dialyser (post-dilution haemodiafiltration). This very efficient and effective treatment can enhance the range of removed toxins.