Long-term therapeutic plasma exchange in the outpatient setting using an implantable central venous access device

Department of Medicine, Transfusion Medicine Section, Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02135, USA.
Journal of Clinical Apheresis (Impact Factor: 1.79). 01/2004; 19(4):180-4. DOI: 10.1002/jca.20024
Source: PubMed


We presented the results of our prospective trial of the Bard CathLink 20 in outpatient therapeutic plasma exchange in May 2000. Since the close of that study, three of the original subjects and one additional subject have received continuous outpatient treatment using the device. We report herein on its long-term use. Four patients with demyelinating polyneuropathy underwent outpatient plasma exchange of 1-1 1/4 plasma volumes using Bard CathLink 20 venous access devices for up to 2 1/2 years. Treatment schedules varied according to the status of the patient's neuropathy. Four men (age 59, 60, 76, 79) underwent 55, 56, 38, and 41 plasma exchanges over 18.5, 18, 20, and 38.5 months, respectively, all in the outpatient setting. Ninety-one percent were completed in <150 min (mean 120 +/- 28 min) with 3,783 +/- 314 ml of plasma removed. Mean access flow rates were approximately 70 +/- 11 ml/min. Plasma flow rates were approximately 38 +/- 6 ml/min. (During our original 6-month prospective trial, access and plasma flow rates were approximately 54 and 32 ml/min, respectively). There were no adverse effects resulting from use of the CathLink and no hospitalizations were needed for plasma exchange. Pressure alarms were infrequent. Access and plasma flow rates achieved with the CathLink 20 have increased by about 30 and 16%, respectively, with long-term use. The conclusion from our prospective trial of this device, that it could conveniently be used for long-term outpatient plasma exchange, is supported by our follow-up experience.

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