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Apheresis in the ICU 

Apheresis in the ICU
Apheresis in the ICU

Marion Sternbach

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date: 01 August 2021

This chapter describes therapeutic plasma exchange, as well as cytapheresis for hyperleukocytosis and essential thrombocythemia, as well as harvesting haematological stem cells (HSC) for transplantation. Instrumentation and techniques are mostly density centrifugation, much less column adsorption for antibodies or membrane filtration for noxious molecules. Pathophysiology of apheresis is dealt with in great detail with emphasis on prevention and treatment of side effects, much more critical in the intensive care unit (ICU) setting. Main manifestations are: hypocalcaemia due to chelation by anticoagulants, hypo- and less hypervolaemia, allergic reactions to sedimenting and volume replacement starches or plasma, depletion of coagulation factors, vitamin K, immunoglobulins, lymphocytes with long lifespan and platelets. Wash-out of drugs for comorbid or underlying conditions occurs inadvertently. Main indications for plasma exchange are thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)/haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) with plasma or cryo-poor supernatant (based on RCT), hyperviscosity syndromes, post-transfusion purpura (PTP) and auto-immune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA), where all other treatments have failed. In cold agglutinin disease, cryoglobulinaemia, coagulation factor inhibitors and ABO incompatible HSC transplants, plasmapheresis has proven useful. Myeloma with renal failure does not seem to benefit significantly from plasma exchange (randomized controlled trials proven).

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