What is the role of plasmapheresis in the treatment of cold agglutinin disease?

Updated: Aug 28, 2018
  • Author: Salman Abdullah Aljubran, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Plasmapheresis effectively, albeit temporarily, removes IgM antibody from plasma, reducing its concentration. This procedure is valuable for emergencies and allows time for drugs to have an effect. Plasmapheresis can also be used to prepare patients for hypothermic surgical procedures. [14, 49]

Plasmapheresis is effective because the autoantibodies, which are most often IgM, are loosely bound to the erythrocytes, and IgM antibodies are incapable of diffusing into the extravascular space. [50] The specifics of each exchange (ie, volume, frequency, duration) must be individualized, planned by an appropriate consultant, and monitored closely.

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