Reply To: Husband diagnosed with atypical GBS

December 4, 2018 at 4:24 pm

Ashlee, Your husband’s chances for a better recovery would be greatly improved if a Neurologist experienced with CIDP or peripheral neuropathies were involved. Perhaps we could recommend one if you could give us your city.

The terms Plasmapheresis, Apheresis, and Plasma Exchange (PE) are often used interchangeably, however they are not the same. Plasmapheresis removes a smaller amount of plasma, usually less than 15% of the patient’s blood volume and therefore does not require replacement of the removed plasma.

PE is the procedure that is performed most commonly for GBS/CIDP. A large volume of plasma (over 60%) is removed from a patient. The volume removed is such that if it were not replaced, significant hypovolemia resulting in vasomotor collapse would occur. As a result, the removed plasma must be replaced with some form of replacement fluid such as albumin. It takes 3-4 PE’s to get out the majority of the antibodies that are responsible for the GBS/CIDP.

When I first underwent PE, I saw the plasma they had removed (I had to ask to see it as they hide it from you). I was astounded by the size of the plastic bag it was captured in, maybe 3 gallons! It was coarse looking and dark, almost black in color. After a number of treatments, the fluid was yellow and transparent.