Therapeutic apheresis: a review of complications and recommendations for prevention and management

J Clin Apher. 2011;26(5):243-8. doi: 10.1002/jca.20303. Epub 2011 Sep 5.


Therapeutic apheresis procedures are a form of extracorporeal therapy that use different techniques to separate blood into the different components out of which the part containing the etiological agent in a disease process is discarded and the rest of the components of blood are re-infused into the patient, frequently with the addition of a replacement fluid or volume. These complex procedures have inherent risks of adverse events and factors that may impact on the incidence these events include the underlying disease state, anticoagulation techniques, replacement fluid type including the volume, issues related to the vascular access used, and the therapeutic apheresis procedure type and technique. We present a representative case based review of common complications of therapeutic apheresis and suggestions about how to prevent or manage these as presented at the 2010 Therapeutic Apheresis Academy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Blood Component Removal / adverse effects*
  • Blood Component Removal / methods*
  • Disease Management
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / isolation & purification
  • Pregnancy
  • Purpura, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic / therapy
  • Risk
  • Therapeutics / adverse effects*
  • Therapeutics / methods*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations