Safety and efficacy of plasma exchange in pediatric transverse myelitis

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We sought to review safety and efficacy of therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) in a cohort of pediatric patients with transverse myelitis.


Billing data of all plasma exchanges performed at our tertiary care pediatric hospital between August 2010 and August 2016 were compared to electronic medical records to find all patients whose indication for apheresis was transverse myelitis. Patient outcomes were quantified on the modified Rankin Scale.


Fifteen of 19 patients (79%) had major improvement in symptoms after a course of 4–7 therapeutic plasma exchanges. The majority required further inpatient (6, 32%) or outpatient (8, 42%) physical therapy. Four (21%) patients returned to baseline and over 75% regained their ability to ambulate as of last follow-up. Four adverse events were noted over 114 treatments.


TPE can be a useful treatment for pediatric transverse myelitis. The retrospective nature of this study without a comparator group limits conclusions about efficacy. However, controlled trials would help to validate our results.

Classification of evidence

This study provides Class IV evidence that plasma exchange is safe and effective in pediatric transverse myelitis.

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