Reply To: plasma exchange times

September 4, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Hi Harry,

There are several different types of catheters that can be used for PE treatments.
1. Standard IV line – this is installed for every treatment and removed when done. It has the slowest infusion rate.
2. PICC Line – this can stay in for a few months, depending on how many PE treatments are needed. It has a medium fast infusion rate. You must keep the insertion area clean in-between PE treatments. You can usually enclose it in a plastic bag so you can take a shower.
3. Central Venous Catheter – most of these can stay in for over a year and provide the highest infusion rates. They advise against showering with this installed to reduce the risk of infection. Check this link for additional info:

I had the 2-line tunneled catheter installed in my neck and the connection tubes went under my skin and came out (~2”) in my upper chest. Both lines were capped and taped to the outside of my chest in-between PE’s. If you sleep on your stomach, that could be a problem. It would itch from time to time, but I never had any pain while wearing it. I flushed it and changed the bandage every week. They tell you to flush the lines and change bandages daily, but for me, that would have created more risk of infection.

I did try the PICC line once, but it almost doubled my PE infusion time. It was fine for IVIG though. I opted for fastest infusion rates while I was doing PE.

I wish you the best of luck with your PE treatments!