The Nephrology Unit of the Hospital de Dénia has started treating patients with plasmapheresis or plasma exchange. The technique consists of passing the blood, through an extracorporeal circuit, through a filter with special characteristics that separates the blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets) from the plasma, eliminating toxic substances and replacing it with a solution of albumin or of fresh plasma.
According to the Head of Nephrology at the Hospital de Dénia, Dr. Fernando Ramos, “blood is made up of a liquid part that is plasma and another cellular part: platelets, red blood cells, white blood cells. The most common apheresis, and that we are doing in Dénia, is plasma exchange, which consists of preserving the cellular component of the blood and replacing the plasma with another inert solution - fresh plasma or albumin- ”.
Plasmapheresis or plasma exchange is a treatment modality to be added to other therapies such as corticosteroids or immunosuppressants, indicated for a wide group of pathologies.
According to Dr. Ramos, the technique can be effective in addressing up to 80 different types of pathologies from different specialties; the most common Internal Medicine, Hematology, Neurology, Nephrology.
The last case treated at the Dénia Hospital, Dr. Ramos highlights, “is that of a patient with Myasthenia Gravis who had been receiving standard treatment for a long time without improvement, even with a life-threatening situation. After five sessions of plasmapheresis he has shown a notable improvement ”.
Plasmapheresis is especially indicated in acute cases of autoimmune diseases to eliminate circulating antibodies, present in the blood, that injure the body. Certain diseases can benefit from a treatment maintained over time until the patient is stabilized.