Therapeutic apheresis in pediatric patients with acute CNS inflammatory demyelinating disease

Blood Purif. 2013;36(2):92-7. doi: 10.1159/000354077. Epub 2013 Sep 7.


Background/aims: In adults, plasma exchange (PE) has been shown to be an efficient treatment for severe relapses of acute inflammatory CNS demyelinating diseases. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of this treatment in pediatric patients.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed a single-center cohort of pediatric patients with inflammatory CNS demyelinating disorders who underwent apheresis between 2007 and 2011.

Results: Ten patients (mean age: 11.6 ± 3.4 years) with an acute relapse of multiple sclerosis (n = 5), neuromyelitis optica (n = 2) or acute disseminated encephalomyelitis were included. All received methylprednisolone prior to treatment with either PE (n = 5) or immunoadsorption (n = 5). Apheresis-related side effects were either self-limiting or easily managed. EDSS (Expanded Disability Status Scale) improved in 7 of 8 patients during apheresis and in all patients within 30 days from a median of 7.5 to 1 (p < 0.01). The visual acuity initially worsened during the procedure in 3 of 7 affected eyes (mean 0.09), but improved in all at follow-up (mean: 0.5; p = 0.008).

Conclusions: Apheresis was well tolerated and associated with a favorable outcome in all pediatric patients similar to reports in adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Demyelinating Diseases / diagnosis
  • Demyelinating Diseases / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / therapy
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Plasma Exchange* / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Methylprednisolone