Therapeutic plasma exchange in critically ill children: experience of the pediatric intensive care unit of two centers in Chile

Raul Bustos B, Lilian Hickmann O, Pablo Cruces R, Franco Díaz

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) is an extracorporeal blood purification technique used in a wide spectrum of diseases. We aim to review the indications, complications, and outcomes of critically ill children who received TPE and to compare a membrane versus centrifugal method in this cohort. Methods: A retrospective observational study in two pediatric intensive care units in Chile during eight years (2011–2019) Results: A total of 36 patients underwent 167 TPE sessions (20 centrifugation and 16 membrane-based). The more frequent indications for TPE were autoimmune neurological diseases in 14 cases, renal diseases (9), and rheumatological disorders (5). 58 % of children received other immunomodulatory therapy. According to ASFA, 45 % of cases were I-II category, 50 % to III, and 5% not classified. Response to treatment was complete in 64 % (23/36) and partial in 33 % (12/36). Complications occurred in 17.4 % of sessions, and the most frequent was transient hypotension during the procedure. Overall survival at discharge from the PICU was 92 %. Patients who received TPE as a single therapy (n = 26) survived 96 %. The clinical outcomes between the two apheresis methods were similar. Survivors had a significantly lower PELOD score on admission (14.5 vs. 6.5, p = 0.004). Conclusions: TPE is mainly indicated as a rescue treatment in neurological autoimmune diseases refractory to conventional immunomodulatory treatment. Complications in critically ill children are mild and low. The outcome in children requiring TPE as a single therapy is good, and no differences were observed with centrifugation or membrane method.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103181
JournalTransfusion and Apheresis Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Autoimmune encephalitis
  • Pediatrics
  • Plasmapheresis
  • Therapeutic plasma exchange

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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