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Other Therapies

Therapeutic apheresis

Therapeutic apheresis is an extracorporeal blood purification procedure. Apheresis has its origin in the Greek word “Aphairesis“ (to remove, to take away).

Therapeutic Apheresis selectively removes pathogenic components from the patient´s blood or plasma. One common technique is therapeutic plasma-exchange where all plasma proteins are withdrawn, not only the pathogens. The lost plasma is replaced by albumin, colloid solutions and/or fresh frozen plasma from healthy donors. This led to the development of selective and specific blood and plasma purification systems.

The basic principle of selective apheresis systems consists of on-line plasma-separation, followed by in-line plasma filtration (plasma fractionation) or an adsorption column and in some cases dialysis is performed as a third step. Finally the purified plasma, still containing the useful proteins, is returned to the patient. In some cases whole blood perfusion is also possible, where the blood is perfused directly through an adsorption column.

The selective removal of pathogenic substances (e.g. LDL, autoantibodies, liver toxins) leads to an improvement in the patient´s health especially in cases where standard treatment is not enough.

Acute dialysis

Acute kidney failure (AKF) is defined as a sudden loss of renal function. It is often caused by a temporary disturbance in the circulation of the blood through the kidneys, for example due to myocardial infarction or as part of sepsis.

It can also be caused by nephrotoxic substances, such as drugs (antibiotics, antihypertensive agents, anti-inflammatory agents) or contrast media. As opposed to chronic kidney disease, acute kidney failure develops rather fast in response to the underlying cause whereas chronic kidney disease often progresses over several years.

The sudden drop in glomerular filtration rate (GFR) results in multiple disturbances, which can include impaired urine excretion, fluid overload, enhanced levels of renal retention solutes, metabolic acidosis, electrolyte imbalances (e.g. hyperkalaemia) and other uraemic complications.

Consequently, temporary extracorporeal blood purification (dialysis) will be necessary until the possible recovery of renal function. Acute kidney failure does not usually cause permanent organ damage or loss of excretion capacity, and with appropriate treatment it is often reversible, resulting in complete recovery. In some cases, however, acute kidney failure may progress to chronic kidney disease.