Tell me about plasma exchange

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  • #117231
    SandraP
    Participant

    I think I’m headed toward plasma exchange. I know what it is, how it’s done, etc. What I’d like to hear are personal experiences. What was it like for you? Did it help? How did you feel during and after the process? How many treatments did you need? Did you go back to IVIG afterward?

    #117232
    Eviatar Kipnis
    Participant

    Hi Sandra
    I have good experience with PE. It helps me in times when my symptoms are getting worse. It stabilises me in terms of strength and sensory symptoms. In times of crysis I got 5 PE treatments within 10 days and It is very effective. Right now (and once before) I get PE once a week to prevent deteryoration. The only side effect I experince is being tierd afterwards. After a short nap – I feel OK.
    All the best
    Eviatar

    #117233
    SandraP
    Participant

    Thanks for the feedback, Eviator. I recently switched neurologists because I’d developed doubts about my former, aging doctor. He had told me after every EMG that I showed improvement, but I never felt any better. I had a relapse in late summer and still feel terrible despite an increase in my IVIG dose (I take 40 mg a week). My new doctor looked at all my EMGs and said the latest one was more or less the same as the first one I had, before I even started treatment in early 2017. He wants to do a new EMG, then decide what change to make that could help me. PE is one option. I don’t want steroids with all the side effects — and I can’t take steroids orally anyway because I have an ulcer. As you know, not many options exist aside from IVIG.

    #117235
    harryswope
    Participant

    I have had plasma exchange the first year of my CIDP treatments, all 3 times I entered the hospital unable to walk. My progress with each stay was the first exchange I get my legs back the next day then with second exchange I got a big boost of energy and foot drop is gone, walking normally and am able to bend down and tie my shoes. The 3rd exchange is the frosting on the cake! my symptoms are all gone and I am wanting to leave hospital right away. I hope your experience is like mine the hard part is staying in a bed when I feel great but because I entered a fall risk the nurses kept me on a short leash.

    #117238
    SandraP
    Participant

    Harryswope — Thanks for telling me about your experience. Hearing how well it works for you gives me hope. If I have PE, I hope I’ll get it as an outpatient.

    Do you receive IVIG at all anymore, or only PE? I haven’t discussed this whole process in depth with my neurologist yet, so I’m unsure about the relationship between the two treatments.

    #117240
    SandraP
    Participant

    After you’ve switched to PE, do you ever go back to IVIG? I think I’ve stopped responding to IVIG.

    #117241
    harryswope
    Participant

    Actually I started with plasma exchange then my doc started me on Imuran for 2 months but my med supplier disapproved that so I was started on IVIG. I have been doing good except when I go too far between infusions which I found out most I can go is 7 weeks before serious problems start.

    #117243
    harryswope
    Participant

    Sandra I have giving my good points about plasma exchange but the more I think about it I should tell you what I hate about it. The procedure to do the ports can be scary, for my first exchange a groin port was put in with local numbing med and I did not like I was able to see doc do his work. The other 2 times I was knocked out and a chest port put in, I had no problems with meds or the port but I did developed a tape allergy that change how port was taped down. I am not sure what kind of port you may get because of your body not responding to IVIG maybe Jim could help with that. Also I could not do this as a out patient procedure because risk of infection but it could be the type of port used on me.

    #117244
    SandraP
    Participant

    harryswope — I have a Bard port in my chest that is used for IVIG. (Nurses cannot deal with my veins.) A friend who has myasthenia gravis gets PE using the same kind of port. I don’t know yet if my neurologist will go for PE, but that’s the alternative he talked about. I can’t take oral steroids. IVIG is not improving my nerve function.

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