Hemapheresis refers to the selective removal of certain component(s) of the blood via machine, designed specifically for this purpose. The blood component may require removal due to a disease or excess. Therapeutic Hemapheresis can be defined by 4 general types of treatment:
(a) Plasma Exchange: The plasma may contain harmful, disease-causing components which must be removed and replaced by an isotonic albumin solution. For certain diseases, fresh frozen plasma (provided by the Blood Bank) is used as a replacement fluid. Plasma exchange is beneficial for a number of neurological diseases (Myasthenia Gravis, Guillian-Barre Syndrome, etc.) and hematological diseases, such as TTP.
(b) Cytapheresis: In certain hematological disorders, the white blood count or platelet count is dangerously high, and these components can be selectively removed using leukapheresis or platelet-apheresis.