Clinical Hub,Patient Education,Health and Nutrition Facts For You,Diagnostic Tests, Procedures, Equipment

Apheresis (6300)

Apheresis (6300) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Diagnostic Tests, Procedures, Equipment



What is Apheresis?

Apheresis uses a machine to spin the blood
and separate it into parts. A drug is added to
keep the blood from clotting. The blood
parts that are leading to illness are then
taken away. The healthy parts are returned
to your bloodstream. At times, healthy,
donor blood parts are also returned to you.

1. Plasmapheresis involves taking
away of the plasma which is the
liquid portion of blood. Plasma is
replaced with fresh frozen plasma,
albumin solution, and/or saline. Red
cells, white cells, and platelets are
returned, all over 2-3 hours.
2. Leukapheresis or platelet pheresis
removes white cells and platelets.
The red cells and plasma are
returned, all over 2-3 hours.
3. Erythrocytapheresis removes red
cells from the blood stream and
replaces them with donor red blood
cells. This takes 1-2 hours.
4. Photopheresis selects white blood
cells and exposes them to ultraviolet
light before they are returned to the
body. After the white cells are
gathered, they are injected with the
drug 8-methoxy psoralen, which
makes the cells more sensitive to
ultraviolet light. The treated white
cells are then put back; they will
react against the diseased white cells
in your body. Patients who have this
will need to wear prescription
sunglasses for 24 hours after each
treatment since the drug used will
make the lens of the eye sensitive to

What are side effects of these treatments?

The side effects of all of the above
treatments can include dizziness,
lightheadedness, and nausea, due to the
shifting of the blood volume. Some people
have tingling toes, fingers, and lips because
of the anti-clotting drug that is added. These
symptoms can be treated with good success.
The pheresis doctor will further explain the
treatment and obtain your consent before
starting the treatment.

Where do I go for this treatment?

The treatment is done in your hospital room
or in the Outpatient Transfusion Service,
C5/350. A nurse will perform the treatment.

What can I expect before the treatment?

Blood is drawn from your arm vein by a
needle attached to a blood tubing set. The
cells and replacement fluid are then returned
to you through a needle in your other arm.
Sometimes, we do not get a good blood flow
from arm veins. Then, a catheter needs to
be placed into a large vein in your neck or
chest. This is done by the doctor. Your IV
lines will be attached to the pheresis
machine. Vital signs will be checked often.

The nurses will be with you at all times. If
you have any feelings of dizziness, chest
pain, muscle cramping, or itching, let your
nurse know right away. Many of these
symptoms can be treated with good success.

What can I expect during the treatment?

Pheresis takes about two hours. If there is
space, family members can be with you.
Your nurse can provide you with a beverage
if you would like. You may also bring in
something from home to eat or drink. You
may wish to read a book or watch TV.
There is a VCR for patient use.

Most people report that lying still is their
biggest problem during the treatment. Let
your nurse know if you are having any
problems during treatment.

What are some common issues which
arise during the treatment?

ξ Sometimes blood flow cannot be
achieved from arm veins. In such
cases, a catheter needs to be placed,
which involves minor surgery.
ξ Changes in blood volume may make
some people feel dizzy or light-
headed. You should tell the nurses
right away if you begin to feel this
ξ The drug which is added to prevent
clots as well as the replacement
fluids or blood parts might cause
some people to notice a sour taste in
the mouth, tingling around the lips,
or pins and needles-type tingling in
fingers and toes. You should tell
your nurse right away if you have
any of these symptoms.

What can I expect after the treatment?

Your catheter will be flushed, or both
needles will be removed. Pressure dressings
to the needle sites will be applied and need
to remain on for a few hours. You can
resume your normal routine when your
puncture sites have sealed later that day.

Your doctor may have you repeat the
treatment, if it is needed, on another day.

When would I need to contact the clinic
with a problem?

If you are home and notice problems, you
can call the transfusion center between 8am-
8pm at (608) 263-8369. After hours, go to
the nearest ER if:
ξ You have a fever more than 101.5°
ξ You have pain at the IV site that is
worse than a bruise and getting
worse instead of better (increased
redness, pain, warmth).
ξ Your IV site or catheter bleeds.
(Apply pressure to the site or try to
clamp the catheter above the site of
the bleeding before you go.

Your health care team may have given you this
information as part of your care. If so, please use it
and call if you have any questions. If this information
was not given to you as part of your care, please
check with your doctor. This is not medical advice.
This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of
any medical condition. Because each person’s health
needs are different, you should talk with your doctor
or others on your health care team when using this
information. If you have an emergency, please call
911. Copyright ©1/2017. University of Wisconsin
Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved.
Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6300.