Therapeutic Apheresis in Pregnancy: Three Differential Indications With Positive Maternal and Fetal Outcome

Ther Apher Dial. 2016 Dec;20(6):677-685. doi: 10.1111/1744-9987.12422. Epub 2016 Jul 14.


Therapeutic apheresis (TA) is a complex extracorporeal procedure for the treatment of several acute and chronic diseases. TA in pregnancy is considered safe for both mother and fetus and has the same indications of non-pregnant patients. TA can be used during the entire course of the pregnancy with the following purposes: (i) to treat several maternal acute and chronic conditions; (ii) to treat fetal conditions; (iii) to avoid administration of drugs potentially harmful to the fetus; and (iv) to reach a more advanced gestational age in order to prevent fetal prematurity. We report three successfully treated patients throughout pregnancy, for differential indications: thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, red blood cells alloimmunization and ulcerative colitis. Multiple courses of TA have been performed without any complications for the mother and the fetus. A review and a discussion on the particular TA implications related to maternal-fetal medicine have been reported. When approaching TA in pregnancy, clinicians have to consider the severity of disease, the strength of the indications, and the gestational age. Each case must be evaluated individually on the basis of existing evidence since, despite the increasing use, specific guidelines for apheresis in pregnancy are still lacking.

Keywords: Pregnancy; Red cell alloimmunization; Therapeutic apheresis; Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura; Ulcerative colitis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Component Removal / methods*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / therapy*
  • Erythrocytes / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Purpura, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome