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New treatment for blood disorders reduces morbidity.

Abu Dhabi: The apheresis process being carried out at Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) is offering new hope to patients with blood disorders, with the state-of-the-art treatment providing an alternative to a previous method that carried a high possibility of morbidity and mortality.

Apheresis is a special process where whole blood is removed from a patient, separated into its components, including plasma and red blood cells, and re-transfused into the patient after removing and replacing the blood component that contributes to a disease.

The service at SKMC has completed over 500 treatment sessions for adult and paediatric patients across a wide spectrum of illnesses.

"The type of diseases that benefit from such a treatment is very wide, including and not limited to a variety of blood, renal and neurological disorders where the disease process results from antibodies attacking and destroying normal organ cells. It can also help in treating a rejection of a transplanted organ after a solid organ transplant," said Dr Azzam Al Zoebie, Chief of Paediatric Oncology and Haematology Division at SKMC.

"Apheresis is very effective, has minimal side effects, and so far no morbidity or mortality for the 150 or so sessions we've conducted on paediatric patients. Sometimes three to five sessions can even totally reverse a disease, and patients won't need to undertake therapeutic apheresis for life like dialysis," added Dr Al Zoebie.

According to the medical expert, the treatment is helpful in children with certain types of leukaemia who have extremely high white blood cell counts at the time of presentation, as well as patients with sickle cell disease with certain complications.

"Removal of the excess leukocytes -- or leukaemic cells -- can help prevent many serious and life-threatening complications in the early stages of treatment. 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 said.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jul 29, 2015
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