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J Clin Apher. 2014 Jun;29(3):133-8. doi: 10.1002/jca.21303. Epub 2013 Oct 15.

The efficiency of therapeutic erythrocytapheresis compared to phlebotomy: a mathematical tool for predicting response in hereditary hemochromatosis, polycythemia vera, and secondary erythrocytosis.

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Department of Haematology, Hagaziekenhuis, Leyweg 275, The Hague, The Netherlands.


Recently, therapeutic erythrocytapheresis (TE) was suggested to be more efficient in depletion of red blood cells (RBC) compared to manual phlebotomy in the treatment of hereditary hemochromatosis (HH), polycythemia vera (PV), and secondary erythrocytosis (SE). The efficiency rate (ER) of TE, that is, the increase in RBC depletion achieved with one TE cycle compared to one phlebotomy procedure, can be calculated based on estimated blood volume (BV), preprocedural hematocrit (Hct(B)), and delta-hematocrit (ΔHct). In a retrospective evaluation of 843 TE procedures (in 45 HH, 33 PV, and 40 SE patients) the mean ER was 1.86 ± 0.62 with the highest rates achieved in HH patients. An ER of 1.5 was not reached in 37.9% of all procedures mainly concerning patients with a BV below 4,500 ml. In 12 newly diagnosed homozygous HH patients, the induction phase duration was medially 38.4 weeks (medially 10.5 procedures). During the maintenance treatment of HH, PV, and SE, the interval between TE procedures was medially 13.4 weeks. This mathematical model can help select the proper treatment modality for the individual patient. Especially for patients with a large BV and high achievable ΔHct, TE appears to be more efficient than manual phlebotomy in RBC depletion thereby potentially reducing the numbers of procedures and expanding the interprocedural time period for HH, PV, and SE.


efficiency; erythrocytosis; hereditary hemochromatosis; polycythemia vera; therapeutic erythrocytapheresis

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