State-of-the-art treatment offers hope to patients with blood disorders

Abu Dhabi - Shaikh Khalifa Medical City completes 500 apheresis sessions

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 29 Jul 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 29 Jul 2015, 8:56 AM

The Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) has completed 500 apheresis sessions over the past three years.
The state-of-the-art treatment offers new hope to patients with blood disorders and is an alternative to earlier methods that carried a high possibility of mortality.
Apheresis is a special process where all the blood is removed from a patient, separated into its components - including plasma and red blood cells - and re-transfused after removing and replacing the blood component that contributes to a disease.
"The type of diseases that benefit from such a treatment is wide, including and not limited to blood, renal and neurological disorders. It can also help in treating rejection of a transplanted organ after a solid organ transplant," said Dr Azzam Al Zoebie, chief of Paediatric Oncology and Haematology at SKMC. "Apheresis is very effective and has minimal side effects," said Dr Al Zoebie.
"So far no deaths have been reported for the 150 or so sessions conducted on paediatric patients. Sometimes three to five sessions can totally reverse a disease, and patients won't need to undertake therapeutic apheresis for life like in the case of dialysis," added Dr Al Zoebie.
According to Dr Al Zoebie, the treatment is helpful in children with certain types of leukaemia as well as patients with sickle cell disease with complications.
"Removal of the excess leukocytes, or leukemic cells, can help prevent life-threatening complications in the early stages. Similarly, lowering the concentration of the sickle haemoglobin and replenishing it with normal blood early on can prevent - or even cure - stroke in affected patients," he added.

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