Erythrocytapheresis can reduce iron overload and prevent the need for chelation therapy in chronically transfused pediatric patients.
PURPOSE: This research was undertaken to determine the advantages, complications, costs, and efficacy of erythrocytapheresis in young pediatric patients who receive chronic erythrocyte transfusion therapy. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed data for 10 children who received erythrocytapheresis for an average of 16 months. Erythrocytapheresis was compared to simple transfusion therapy with respect to annual blood unit exposure, occurrence of alloimmunization, and costs. Serum ferritin levels were compared before and after the period of erythrocytapheresis. RESULTS: Erythrocytapheresis was well tolerated, even in children as young as 5 years or as small as 20 kg. It required a greater annual unit exposure than simple transfusions, but did not increase alloimmunization. Ferritin levels decreased significantly in children receiving concurrent deferoxamine, and decreased or stabilized in those not on chelation therapy. Children started on erythrocytapheresis soon after stroke have not developed iron overload. Although the costs of erythrocytapheresis exceed that of simple transfusion, the substantial costs of deferoxamine therapy should be considered; one child on erythrocytapheresis has been able to discontinue chelation therapy following normalization of his ferritin level. CONCLUSION: Erythrocytapheresis is a safe and effective method for young patients receiving chronic erythrocyte transfusions. Erythrocytapheresis can reduce total iron burden and may obviate the need for expensive chelation therapy.
Adams, DM; Schultz, WH; Ware, RE; Kinney, TR
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