Suggested Guidelines for Individual Trials of Therapeutic Plasma Exchange to Treat Systemic Scleroderma

Recently, two patients who are currently discussing therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) with their physicians as a possible treatment option asked me for some information to give to their physicians that described the protocol that was used in the recently published case report (Harris et al. 2016) titled “Successful Long-Term (22 Year) Treatment of Limited Scleroderma Using Therapeutic Plasma Exchange: Is Blood Rheology the Key?”.  I realized that if physicians decide to try TPE on an individual basis before a full clinical trial is done, it would make sense to try to standardize the protocol along with suggested laboratory testing in order to allow researchers to pool and analyze the data from these individual trials of TPE.  This document is designed to provide a suggested standardized TPE protocol for physicians to consider and also answer a number of questions that commonly arise when patients and physicians are considering TPE, including patient selection criteria, safety issues, and venous access.  Here is the abstract of the article:

Abstract. The purpose of this document is to provide background information for physicians and patients who have reviewed the research literature on the use of therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) to treat systemic sclerosis (SSc) and made the determination that this may be an appropriate treatment option.  While this is not intended to be a formal research proposal, it is hoped that by following a standardized protocol for administering TPE, as well as including a basic set of objective measures during the trial of TPE, we may be able to glean important information that can be used as the basis for future well-designed clinical trials of TPE for treating patients with SSc.

If you have any interest in learning more about this topic, here are links to printable versions of the document in both US and A4 formats:



5 Responses to Suggested Guidelines for Individual Trials of Therapeutic Plasma Exchange to Treat Systemic Scleroderma

  1. I have diffuse systemic Scleroderma which seems to be progressing rapidly I would be interested to learnmore about plasma exchange and how it might help me. Thankyou sue