What is LDL-Apheresis?
LDL-Apheresis is a type of ‘extracorporeal’ (blood taken outside the body) procedure to remove low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from the blood. LDL-Apheresis is considered for those patients who, despite the maximum amount of drug treatment and a cholesterol lowering diet, still have higher LDL cholesterol levels than is healthy.
Many people who require this treatment have a condition called Familial Hypercholesterolemia, a genetic problem which leads to high LDL cholesterol levels.
Some patients are referred for this treatment because they are unable to tolerate lipid-lowering drugs due to side effects. A few people also require LDL-Apheresis because they have slightly raised cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease which is progressing.
Increased levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk heart disease as the LDL is deposited in the walls of the arteries causing them to narrow.
＊For patients who is under treatment for cancer, based on very strict criteria, LDL Apheresis maybe performed.
What are Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) ?
LDL are often referred to as “bad cholesterol.” LDL circulates through the bloodstream and collects on artery walls, eventually causing plaque and atherosclerosis. High levels of LDL can cause serious health problems, such as cardiovascular diseases
Most people with high cholesterol levels can be treated using a combination of diet, exercise and medications. Some people with severely high cholesterol levels do not respond to medications or have harmful reactions to medications.
What does LDL Apheresis treat?
People who have high LDL levels who can’t take medication can benefit from LDL Apheresis. At our clinic, most people treated with LDL apheresis have:
•A condition called familial hypercholesterolemia
•An LDL level greater than 200 mg/dL with coronary artery disease
•An LDL level greater than 300 mg/dL with or without known heart disease.
What is Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH)?
Familial Hypercholesterolemia is a rare genetic disorder characterized by high levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol. If untreated, 50 percent of FH patients can experience cardiac and vascular illness by the age of 55, or potentially much younger for more severe cases.
How will LDL Apheresis help me?
Studies have shown that LDL apheresis can lower LDL cholesterol approximately 70 to 83 percent after a single treatment. The liver will continue to produce LDL following treatment, but it will take approximately two weeks to return to baseline levels. To maintain lowest possible LDL levels over time, patients will typically require treatment every two weeks. Continuing a heart healthy diet and any cholesterol lowering medications can help increase the time in between treatments.
Potential side effects
Low blood pressure is the most common adverse reaction associated with LDL Apheresis, and in U.S. clinical trials this occurred in less than one percent of patients. Other uncommon side effects include nausea, flushing, lightheadedness and discomfort at the needle site. Side effects are more common in patients taking ACE inhibitors; please let the apheresis doctor know if you are taking this type of medication.
Call Dr. Andy for a consultation at 813-3401-0720