Epidemiology of therapeutic apheresis with a multidisciplinary approach at a high volume pediatric center

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Therapeutic apheresis (TA) is used inconsistently in pediatric populations. We seek to define our multidisciplinary institutional practice.


We conducted a retrospective chart review of patients receiving TA from January 1, 2012 through October 31, 2015. Data collected included demographics, American Society of Apheresis (ASFA) indication, complications, and mortality.


Over 46 months, 1198 TA procedures were conducted on 289 patients ranging in age from 5 months to 21 years with weights ranging from 4.76 to 170.3 kg (16 procedures in patients <10 kg). The procedures were 86% therapeutic plasma exchange, 10% red blood cell exchange, 4% extracorporeal photopheresis, and 5 leukocytapheresis procedures. TA was initiated in different clinical environments: 41% outpatient, 37% intensive care, 15% general inpatient, and 7% operating room. The ASFA category (6th edition) indications for the 1198 procedures included: 44% category I, 25% category II, 23% category III, a single category IV procedure, and the remainder (8%) uncategorized by ASFA. The rate of procedure failure and procedure-related mortality are 1 and 0%, respectively. Case mortality rate was 4%.


At a large volume pediatric hospital, TA is commonly used and can be performed safely in a variety of settings by a multidisciplinary team. This demographic review catalogs the number and type of procedures performed as a second-line therapy or on the basis of limited evidence. Additional collaborative investigation is needed to evaluate unique implications of TA in pediatrics to maximize efficacy while preserving safety.

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