Therapeutic plasma exchange in patients with sepsis: Secondary analysis of a cluster-randomized controlled trial

J Clin Apher. 2023 Feb;38(1):55-62. doi: 10.1002/jca.22027. Epub 2022 Oct 31.


Introduction: Sepsis is life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by infection-related inflammatory response. Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) can remove inflammatory mediators and benefit patients in different disease settings. However, no solid evidence showed the efficacy and safety of TPE in sepsis.

Methods: This study was a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Critically ill patients with sepsis were divided into two groups according to whether treated with TPE. The primary outcome was the delta Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score from days 1 to 7. Secondary outcomes included new-onset organ failure, intensive care unit (ICU)-free and alive days to day 28, and 28-day mortality. Propensity score-matched (PSM) analysis was applied to control confounders. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and logistic regression were used to assess the association between TPE and selected outcomes.

Results: Among the 2772 critically ill patients enrolled in the trial, 742 patients with sepsis were selected and 22 patients received TPE were matched with 22 control patients. No significant difference was found in the delta SOFA score and 28-day mortality between TPE group and control group. The ICU-free and alive days in the TPE group were significantly shorter than the control group.

Conclusions: TPE may be not associated with improvement of organ failure and mortality in critically ill patients with sepsis and may be associated with a prolonged ICU stay.

Keywords: Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score; intensive care unit; propensity score-matched; sepsis; therapeutic plasma exchange.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Critical Illness / therapy
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Plasma Exchange*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sepsis* / complications
  • Sepsis* / therapy