You have been diagnosed with a condition that requires plasmapheresis treatment. Congratulations! As a medical process, Houston plasmapheresis separates plasma from whole blood. At the time of plasma exchange, damaged plasma is removed and replaced with healthy plasma or a plasma replacement before the blood is reintroduced into the patient. It is an essential step in managing your health. But what can you expect during your first treatment?
This post will walk you through the entire process, from check-in to check-out. It will also answer some of the most common questions about plasmapheresis. By the time you finish reading, you will feel confident and prepared for your first treatment.
What are the benefits of plasmapheresis?
Plasmapheresis treatment can be incredibly beneficial for people suffering from various health conditions, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. It is often used to relieve the symptoms of these diseases and help people feel better.
Plasma exchanges may also stop the body from making more damaging antibodies if the patient has an autoimmune disorder. The procedure is often part of a more extensive treatment regimen, including chemotherapy. It may require many plasma exchanges.
How long does the treatment take?
You will have a treatment nurse who will take you through the process. The entire treatment will take about 3 to 4 hours. The first hour is for the machine to clean your blood of antibodies. The following two hours are for the removal of plasma and the infusion of your new plasma.
What is the recovery time?
After your treatment is complete, you will be allowed to go home. You will need to rest and avoid any strenuous activities. Most people feel fine after a day or two of rest, but listening to your body and taking it easy is essential.
Are there any side effects?
You are probably wondering if there are any side effects to this treatment. The answer is yes; there are some possible side effects. But the good news is that they are usually mild and temporary.
The most common side effects are nausea, headache, and diarrhea. But if you experience these symptoms, don’t worry—they will go away once your treatment is over. There are also other potential side effects, such as dizziness, chest pain, and shortness of breath. But again, these are rare and usually happen only in people allergic to plasma protein.
How much does the treatment cost?
Most insurance companies will reimburse you for the cost of the treatment, so you do not have to worry about out of pocket costs. You can also seek financing options to get the treatment you need without breaking the bank.
Contact your insurance company for details on your specific policy. Please discuss your financial issues with your physician. They can explain your alternatives and provide the data you need to give your insurance company.
If you decide to proceed with treatment, a nurse or technician will bring you to the treatment room, where you will be hooked up to the plasmapheresis machine. The machine will take your blood and separate the plasma from the red blood cells. You may feel a little lightheaded during or after the treatment. However, on the bright side, you can resume your normal activities after your treatment.