[How to implement a complete apheresis program within a hemodialysis unit]

Jocelyne Maurizi-Balzan, Thomas Jouve, Hamza Naciri-Bennani, Johan Noble, Khadija Tanoukhi, Lionel Motte, Paolo Malvezzi, Lionel Rostaing
Néphrologie & Thérapeutique 2019, 15 (6): 439-447
Many apheresis techniques can be performed in a blood-bank facility or a hemodialysis (HD) facility. However, it makes sense to perform apheresis in a hemodialysis facility as apheresis involves extra-corporeal circuits and because HD can be performed at the same time as apheresis (tandem procedure). Apheresis techniques comprise therapeutic plasma exchange, double-filtration plasmapheresis, and its derivative (rheopheresis and LDL-apheresis), and immunoadsorption (specific and semi-specific). We have setup an apheresis platform in our hospital that fulfills health recommendations. This process has involved financial investment and significant human resources, and has enabled us to network with different specialties (neurology, hematology, vascular medicine). We have setup protocols according to the type of pathology to be treated by apheresis, and to monitor clinical and biological data for each apheresis session. The main side effects of apheresis are a fall in blood pressure when a session is initiated, an increase in fluid overload, hypocalcemia, and the loss of some essential plasmatic factors. However, these side-effects are easily identified and can be properly managed in real time. Within two-years, we have performed 1845 apheresis sessions (134 patients). Of these, 66 received apheresis before and/or after kidney transplantation for ABO and/or HLA incompatibility (desensitization), for humoral rejection, or in the setting of relapsing focal-segmental glomerulosclerosis. Our patients' outcomes have been similar to those reported in the literature. The other 68 patients had various conditions. Because our program is now well-established, we are currently forming a specialist center to train physicians and nurses in the various apheresis techniques/procedures.

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