Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) is a treatment that removes plasma from your blood. The removed plasma is then replaced with a substitute. Plasma is the liquid portion of blood. It helps carry blood cells and other substances throughout your body. With certain diseases, plasma can contain an abnormal substance that may trigger symptoms. TPE helps remove this abnormal substance and relieve symptoms. TPE can also help you better fight your disease. TPE is also known as plasmapheresis.
TPE uses a special machine to separate blood into its different parts. It then removes and replaces most of the plasma. Patients often need more than one treatment. Patient and treating physician and transfusion medicine specialist will discuss the schedule for treatment in advance. Each plasma exchange takes about 2 to 4 hours.