Demonstration of a pathogenic role for antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) underlies the scientific rationale for plasma exchange (PLEX) in the treatment of ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV). Most clinical evidence of efficacy concerns the use of PLEX for the recovery of renal function in severe nephritis, when used in conjunction with immunosuppressive drug therapy. The development of PLEX for this indication, the strength of the clinical trial evidence supporting its use, its roles in other AAV indications and ongoing research are discussed.
Keywords: ANCA; autoantibody; clinical trial; kidney; plasma exchange; vasculitis.
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