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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Nephrology 1/2018

Therapeutic plasma exchange in a tertiary care center: 185 patients undergoing 912 treatments - a one-year retrospective analysis

BMC Nephrology > Ausgabe 1/2018
Julius J. Schmidt, Firas Asper, Gunilla Einecke, Gabriele Eden, Carsten Hafer, Jan T. Kielstein



Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) is increasingly used throughout the world. Although the procedure itself is fairly standardized, it is yet unknown how the underlying disease entities influence the key coordinates of the treatment.


Retrospective chart review. The treatment indications were clustered into four categories. Data are presented as median and interquartile (25–75%) range [IQR].


Within 1 year, 912 TPE treatments were performed in 185 patients (90 female, 48.6%). The distribution of the treatment numbers to the pre-specified disease categories were as follows: transplantation (35.7%), neurology (31.9%), vasculitis and immunological disease (17.3%), and others including thrombotic microangiopathy (8.1%), critical care related diseases (5.4%), hematology [multiple myeloma] (1.1%), and endocrine disorders (0.5%). The calculated plasma volume was significantly higher in patients with vasculitis and immunological diseases (3984 [3433–4439] ml) as compared to patients treated for transplant related indications (3194 [2545–3658] ml; p = 0.0003) and neurological diseases (3058 [2533–3359] ml; p < 0.0001). This was mainly due to the differences in the hematocrit which was 30.5 [27.0–33.6] % in the vasculitis/immunological disease patients and 40.2 [37.5–42.9] % in the neurological patients; p < 0.0001. Interestingly, treatment time using a membrane based technology was significantly longer than TPE using a centrifugal device 135.0 [125.0–140.0] min vs. 120.0 [112.5–135.0] min. Furthermore, the relative exchanged plasma volume was significantly lower in the treatment of vasculitis and immunological diseases as compared to treatments of transplant related indications and neurological diseases.


Patients with low hematocrit and high body weight do not receive the minimum recommended dose of exchange volume. Centrifugal TPE allowed faster plasma exchange than membrane TPE.
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