Plasma Exchange for Multiple Sclerosis in Children

Doctors at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone may recommend a procedure called plasma exchange, also known as plasmapheresis, for children with multiple sclerosis, or MS, who have had a significant relapse that hasn’t responded to intravenous (IV) medications.

Blood is composed of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets suspended in a fluid called plasma. In people with MS, proteins that are attacking tissues in the body can be found in blood plasma. Removing these proteins can help to stop the relapse and improve your child’s symptoms.

Plasma exchange is an inpatient procedure. The doctor inserts an IV that is connected to a machine that withdraws some of the child’s blood. Any proteins in the plasma that are causing the autoimmune attack are eliminated, and then “cleaned” plasma and other blood components are returned to the body.

Children who have had relapses that are unresponsive to corticosteroid medications typically improve significantly after plasma exchange.

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