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Utility and safety of plasma exchange in paediatric neuroimmune disorders

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Michael Eyre, Yael Hacohen, Kate Lamb, Michael Absoud, Shakti Agrawal, Jonathan Gadian, Rajat Gupta, Rachel Kneen, David V. Milford, Sunny Philip, Katie Rose, Martin Smith, Stefan Spinty, Evangeline Wassmer, Ming Lim, Cheryl Hemingway

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-546
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number5
PublishedMay 2019

King's Authors


Aim: Our aim was to ascertain the indications, side effects, and outcomes in children receiving therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) for neurological disorders. Method: Medical records were retrospectively reviewed for 58 consecutive children (age ≤16y) undergoing 67 courses of TPE across four tertiary centres. Patient characteristics, treatment schedules, complications, and outcomes were analysed. Results: Median age at initiation of TPE was 9 years (range 1–15y). Indications included peripheral nervous system (PNS; n=18) and central nervous system (CNS; n=40) disorders. Courses comprised a median six exchanges (range 2–179) over 8 days (range 3–466). Forty-two out of 58 (73%) children were severely disabled (bedridden) at initiation and 24 out of 58 (41%) were admitted to intensive care units. Treating clinicians’ impression of response was positive in 16 out of 18 of those with PNS disorders versus 22 out of 40 with CNS disorders (p=0.016). Improvements in disability (modified Rankin Scale) occurred in 13 out of 58 (22%) children by completion of TPE (p=0.003). Complications occurred in 40 out of 67 (60%) courses, of which 16 out of 67 (24%) were line related. Potentially life-threatening complications occurred in 2 out of 67 (3%) courses. Interpretation: This cohort study provides safety and efficacy information for clinicians and families and a basis for future prospective studies. What this paper adds: Disability scores for severe neuroimmune disorders remained stable or improved during therapeutic plasma exchange treatment. Complications occurred frequently but were typically mild and correctable.

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