Reply To: plasma exchange times

September 3, 2013 at 10:51 pm

I too had Plasmapheresis treatments for a couple years. This helped me more than IVIG ever did. IVIG does not remove the bad anti-bodies from your blood, PE does and it helped keep the bad guy count down while my auto-immune system was still producing the bad anti-bodies.

I took Prednisone to temporarily turn-off my auto-immune system while doing the PE. Prednisone has its issues and you can learn more about that by doing a search at the top of the forums page here.

Most of my PE treatments were done on an outpatient basis. This is a much less expensive approach and is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. Since you are only at the hospital or Apheresis center for 3-4 hours, cabin fever is less likely.

I took Access Paratransit (in LA) to/from the hospital for $5 round trip. Then wheel in my power wheelchair to the Apheresis center and transfer to a bed. Initially I couldn’t do the transfers by myself and had to rely on the hospital’s ‘lift team’ to transfer me. The PE treatments kept the bad anti-bodies at bay giving my nerves time to do a little recovery so I could transfer myself, without the lift team.

I didn’t have an allergic reaction to the see-through bandage, but I developed a rash after they took it off (the adhesive seemed to rip my skin off when the bandage was removed). So, I had them switch to a cloth bandage and use their adhesive remover solvent each time they replaced a bandage. This solved my rash problem.

Look into the outpatient costs of PE for your situation. I would be concerned that the GBS/CIDP could become worse without the treatments. In my case, I have so much nerve damage from not starting PE until month 3 after the onset of the disease, I am now a wheelchair bound paraplegic. However, thanks to PE, I’m no longer a quadriplegic!