Introduction: Granulocyte and monocyte apheresis (GMA) is an effective treatment strategy for active ulcerative colitis (UC) in Japan. Single needle (SN) apheresis reduces needle puncture pain in patients because it requires only one puncture site. We evaluated whether single-needle apheresis could be a safe and effective means of reducing patient burden.
Method: We performed a retrospective study of active UC patients who were treated with either SN apheresis or conventional double-needle (DN) apheresis at the Kurume university hospital from April 2014 to March 2018. All the patients treated with GMA after September 2016 underwent SN apheresis. Thus, the two groups predominantly belonged to different time periods. We assessed the safety of SN apheresis.
Result: Six patients underwent SN apheresis, and 6 underwent DN apheresis. The average time to the start of apheresis was significantly reduced from 23.1 minutes in the case of DN apheresis to 12.6 minutes for SN apheresis. In addition, the number of difficult punctures was significantly reduced with SN apheresis. There were no differences in adverse events between SN and DN apheresis. Treatment benefits, remission rate and disease activity were similar between SN and DN apheresis.
Conclusion: SN apheresis reduced both the time to treatment initiation and pain during puncture, and there was no difference in the number of blood clotting episodes as compared with DN. Although further comparative studies are needed, SN apheresis may be a safe alternative for patients to reduce the strain of treatment.
Keywords: granulocyte and monocyte apheresis; single needle; ulcerative colitis.