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Houston Kidney Specialists Center -  - Nephrology

Nephrology & Internal Medicine located in Cypress and North Houston Area, TX

Nephrology & Internal Medicine & Nephrology located in Willowbrook Office, Houston, TX & Memorial Hermann Cypress, Cypress, TX

Your immune system produces antibodies that protect you from foreign substances that make you sick. In some situations, your antibodies may work against you and attack your own organs or a donated organ. At Houston Kidney Specialists Center, the compassionate nephrology team offers plasmapheresis, which removes harmful antibodies from your blood. To learn more about plasmapheresis, contact one of the four offices in Houston and Cypress, Texas, by phone or schedule an appointment online today.

Plasmapheresis Q & A

What is plasmapheresis?

Plasmapheresis is a treatment that removes antibodies from your blood. Similar to dialysis, your blood runs through a machine that only removes the antibodies from your plasma and then returns the antibody-free plasma to your body.

Your antibodies are part of your natural defense system and destroy foreign substances that make you sick, such as bacteria and viruses.

However, in some cases, your immune system may produce antibodies that work against you. These antibodies may attack organs or body systems (autoimmune disorder) or substances it considers harmful (allergies). 

If you need a kidney transplant, your body may produce antibodies that cause your body to reject the donated organ. 

Who needs plasmapheresis?

The nephrology team at Houston Kidney Specialists Center may recommend plasmapheresis to treat certain types of kidney disease. 

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis causes inflammation of the blood vessels in various organ systems, including your kidneys. Plasmapheresis is a treatment for granulomatosis with polyangiitis. 

During treatment, the machine removes the disease-producing substances from your blood and transfuses fresh plasma into your body.

Goodpasture syndrome

Goodpasture syndrome is a rare autoimmune disorder that affects your lungs and kidneys. Plasmapheresis may help prevent the progression of the disease by removing the harmful antibodies. 

Plasmapheresis also benefits patients in need of a kidney transplant. Some people produce blood protein antibodies that may increase the risk of organ rejection. 

Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) may be good candidates for a kidney transplant. You might develop ESRD if you have polycystic kidney disease (PKD), an inherited condition that causes cysts to grow in the kidneys. 

What happens during plasmapheresis?

Plasmapheresis is similar to dialysis. The compassionate team at Houston Kidney Specialists Center reviews what you can expect during your treatment, so you know how to prepare.

You need a fistula, graft, or dialysis catheter to undergo plasmapheresis. During treatment, your blood runs from your catheter to the plasmapheresis machine, which removes the harmful antibodies, and then returns the clean plasma to your body. 

For kidney transplant patients, you may need several plasmapheresis treatments before and after your transplant surgery. You may also need to take immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection of your organ transplant. 

To learn more about plasmapheresis and how it can benefit your health, call Houston Kidney Specialists Center, or schedule an appointment online today.