Optimization of single-needle red cell exchange in patients with sickle cell disease

J Clin Apher. 2024 Jun;39(3):e22118. doi: 10.1002/jca.22118.


The hypercoagulable state associated with sickle cell disease (SCD) can be challenging for apheresis procedures. Among 62 single-needle red cell exchanges (SN-RCEs) performed over a 15-month period, 4 patients experienced 6 hemolytic events with a discolored plasma layer, elevated plasma/RBC interface in the centrifuge, and accompanying alarms of "Cells were detected in plasma line from centrifuge" or "AIM system detected RBC at top of connector." The hemolysis originated from the apheresis instrument because samples from the apheresis belt but not the patients' peripheral blood were positive for hemolysis. Further analysis showed the alarms occurred more often in SN-RCEs (20.4%) than double-needle RCEs (2.7%), and the hemolysis was probably secondary to clumping. To optimize SN-RCE, we increased the anticoagulant dosage by changing Inlet/AC ratio from 13 to 8 and lowered the inlet rate to the level comparable to double-needle RCE. The adjustments were well-tolerated with no more hemolysis.

Keywords: erythrocytapheresis; hemolysis; red cell exchange; sickle cell disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell* / complications
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell* / therapy
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Blood Component Removal* / methods
  • Erythrocyte Transfusion* / methods
  • Erythrocytes / cytology
  • Female
  • Hemolysis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Needles


  • Anticoagulants