Plasmapheresis for the treatment of kidney diseases Academic Article uri icon

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  • The purpose of this review is to examine the evidence supporting the application of plasma exchange in renal disease. Our review focuses on the following 6 most common renal indications for plasma exchange based on 2014 registry data from the Canadian Apheresis Group: (i) thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)/hemolytic uremic syndrome; (ii) renal transplantation, (iii) anti-neutrophil cytoplasm antibodies-associated vasculitis, (iv) cryoglobulinemia, (v) focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, and (vi) Goodpasture syndrome. The rarity of these diseases and their rapid, often fatal course mean that randomized controlled studies of plasma exchange are rarely conducted. Although evidence from an adequately powered randomized controlled trial supports the use of plasma exchange to treat thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, the use of plasma exchange to treat other renal diseases is only supported by observational and mechanistic studies. Larger well-designed trials are needed to clarify the potential role of plasma exchange in renal disease. Growing international collaboration will improve the quality of future studies in this area.


  • Clark, William F
  • Huang, Shih-Han S
  • Walsh, Michael
  • Farah, Myriam
  • Hildebrand, Ainslie M
  • Sontrop, Jessica M

publication date

  • November 2016