In the current study, the authors evaluated data provided by Hungarian hemapheresis centers to the National Health Insurance (NHI) organization between 2001 and 2004 with the intention of having costs reimbursed. The primary objective of the present study was to rank data by frequency of indications of therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE). Furthermore, we compared frequency data with the Canadian TPE Registry and reviewed medical evidence regarding the adequacy of applying TPE at chosen indications based on data in literature.
It was concluded that the number of TPEs (and thus the reimbursed costs) increased steadily year by year. It is worth considering the difference between the five most frequent indications of TPE in Hungary or in Canada. Clinicians tend to apply TPE in many cases as a last resort treatment of many diseases unresponsive to conventional therapy. Consequently, there are many illnesses for which the value of TPE is still questionable (or unproven) and its use is considered investigational or experimental. Nevertheless, cumulative medical experience does not always confirm the adequacy of TPE in all treatments, retrospectively. Thus, limited financial resources oblige clinicians to be judicious in providing apheresis services.