Multiple Myeloma

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Treating Multiple Myeloma TOPICS

Plasmapheresis for multiple myeloma

In this treatment, blood is removed from a vein, the blood cells are separated from the blood plasma (liquid part of the blood) and then the blood cells are returned to the patient. The discarded plasma has the abnormal antibody protein produced by the myeloma cells. It can be replaced with a salt solution and plasma from donors.

Plasmapheresis is helpful when certain myeloma proteins build up, thicken the blood, and interfere with circulation (called hyperviscosity). Although plasmapheresis can relieve some symptoms, it does not kill the myeloma cells. Without further treatment, the level of the protein will just build-up again. For that reason, plasmapheresis is often followed by chemotherapy or some other type of drug treatment to kill the cells that make the protein.


Last Medical Review: 01/15/2013
Last Revised: 02/12/2013