Feasibility of pediatric plasma apheresis in intensive care settings

Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health


Therapeutic Apheresis and Dialysis © 2014 International Society for Apheresis.Therapeutic plasma apheresis or exchange (TPE) in the pediatric population is technically challenging. Moreover, there is generally an apprehension in using TPE in children compared to adults. Recently, usage of TPE has evolved and is now being used in heterogenous clinical conditions. Its usefulness is classified by the American Society for Apheresis (ASFA) into various categories ranging from I to IV. The objective of this paper was to review the procedure in context of clinical indications, complications and outcomes in children. For this purpose, we retrospectively reviewed all TPE procedures performed on inpatients of 3 to 16 years of age during a 6-year period (2007-2012). A total of 130 procedures were performed on 28 patients (M : F ratio of 1:1) with median age (range) of 8.8 (4-16) years. All procedures were done using the continuous cell-separator centrifugal method. Due to organ dysfunctions, the majority of procedures (N = 26 of 28 or 92% patients) were performed in the pediatric intensive care unit. Twenty-three, four and one patient belonged to ASFA categories I, II and III, respectively. The most common indications were neurological disorders (N = 13 or 46.4%), comprised of Guillain-Barre syndrome (N = 10) and myasthenia gravis (N = 3). Hematological disorders (N = 10 or 35.7%) including thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura-hemolytic uremic syndrome were a close second. Complete recovery was seen in 23 patients (84%). Trivial adverse effects were observed in 18/130 (13.8%) procedures. Major complications including cardiac arrest, hypotension and transfusion-related acute lung injury were observed in 5/130 or 3.8% of procedures. However, there was no procedure-related death though five patients died during treatment due to underlying pathology. In conclusion, TPE is a safe and effective option in sick children for appropriate indications. An experienced staff with sound procedural skills is imperative for successful therapy.


Therapeutic Apheresis and Dialysis