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Semin Hematol. 2004 Jan;41(1):48-59.

Plasma therapy in thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura: review of the literature and the Bern experience in a subgroup of patients with severe acquired ADAMTS-13 deficiency.

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Central Hematology Laboratory, Inselspital, University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland.


Based on clinical studies daily plasma exchange (PE) has become the first-choice therapy for thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) since 1991. Recent findings may explain its effectiveness, which particularly may include supply of ADAMTS-13 and removal of anti-ADAMTS-13 autoantibodies and unusually large von Willebrand factor (VWF) multimers. The most preferable PE regimens as well as replacement fluids are discussed and treatment-related adverse reactions are summarized. Proposals for a potential reduction of their frequency and for improvement of treatment efficiency are given. These suggestions are partially based on the experience of our institution in adult patients with severe ADAMTS-13 deficiency (<5% activity), and include (1) continuous calcium-gluconate infusion during PE in order to reduce citrate-related adverse reactions; (2) the evaluation of solvent/detergent-treated (S/D) plasma as replacement fluid in order to reduce adverse events due to fresh frozen plasma (FFP); (3) the evaluation of immunoadsorption in order to increase procedural efficiency in autoantibody removal; and (4) the substitution of ADAMTS-13 by means of recombinant drug instead of plasma.

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