CASE REPORTS
CLINICAL TRIAL
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Addition of plasma exchange to glucocorticosteroids for the treatment of severe Henoch-Schönlein purpura in adults: a case series.

BACKGROUND: Adult Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP) has been associated with poor outcome and end-stage renal disease in >20% of cases. Although the benefit of adding another immunosuppressant to steroids in severe adult HSP has not been shown, the benefit of plasma exchange (PE) therapy has been poorly evaluated.

STUDY DESIGN: Case series.

SETTING & PARTICIPANTS: 11 consecutive patients with severe and newly diagnosed HSP since 1988 who were treated with steroids and PE.

OUTCOME & MEASUREMENT: Patients' characteristics and outcome were analyzed. Birmingham Vasculitis Activity Score (BVAS), estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and proteinuria were measured at baseline, at the end of PE treatment, at months 6 and 12, and at the last visit. Side effects of corticoid treatment and PE were recorded.

RESULTS: 11 patients were identified in 1988-2010. Patients received intravenous corticoid pulses in 64% of cases, followed by oral prednisone for a median of 6.6 months. They received a median of 12 PE sessions. BVAS, eGFR, and proteinuria improved significantly between baseline and the last PE at a median of 2 months. PE sessions were well tolerated, except in one patient who developed central catheter-associated septicemia. One patient required dialysis therapy 15 days after HSP diagnosis and did not recover kidney function. At the last medical evaluation at a mean follow-up of 6 years, median eGFR and proteinuria were 83 ± 22 mL/min/1.73 m(2) and protein excretion of 140 ± 10 mg/d, respectively. 3 women had pregnancy without complications.

LIMITATIONS: This case series did not have a control group.

CONCLUSIONS: The combination of PE and corticoid therapy in severe forms of HSP was associated with fast improvement and good long-term outcome.

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