What to tell the patient about Leukapheresis?

How is Leukapheresis performed?

During the process of Leukapheresis, blood is drawn from one arm via catheter or a needle that is placed into one of the veins. Blood then flows from the arm into a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the blood and separates it into various components according to their weight and density. Consequently, blood can be separated into red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The white blood cells are separated into blood bag and the rest of the cells with blood plasma are returned to the body through another catheter or a needle in the vein of opposite arm.

Leukapheresis usually takes 3-4 hours.. The benefit of the process is that required quantities of particular blood cells can be removed from the body during a single procedure, while the person is not affected by a removal of a large blood volume, because the red blood cells and blood plasma are re-circulated.

Patient who undergoes Leukapheresis should know:

Stay well hydrated a few days before the Leukapheresis procedure, but restrict fluids intake on the day of Leukapheresis and avoid caffeinated beverages (the procedure takes 3-4 hours and only bedpan is available during the procedure).

Eat healthy food (preferably calcium-rich) prior to the Leukapheresis procedure.

Wear comfortable clothing (especially clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow - if you do not have a central line/catheter).

If your physician recommends not taking certain medication 24 hours before Leukapheresis, please do not forget to follow these instructions.

Bring your ID card/passport to the Apheresis Centre for identity check.

Bring your own entertainment if you wish.

Arrive at the Apheresis Centre 15-30 minutes prior to the scheduled Leukapheresis procedure. The collection and transport of Leukapheresis are extremely time-sensitive.

On the day of procedure be accompanied by your relatives or other accompanying person.

Undesirable side effects may occur despite the fact that Leukapheresis is a painless and safe procedure. Please do not hesitate to consult on it with your physician or with Apheresis Centre’s staff.

In general, most people feel fatigued after the Leukapheresis collection, therefore physical activity should be limited for approximately 12 to 24 hours.. Due to blood platelets decrease caused by Leukapheresis, any activities which may cause bleeding or bruising should be avoided. In addition, fluid consumption helps to body recover quickly. If dizziness occurs, it is important to prop the feet above the head until the dizziness subsides.

Before Leukapheresis, all the procedure steps are explained by the Apheresis Centre’s staff and any questions are answered.