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June 1984

Plasmapheresis: Therapeutic or Experimental Procedure?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy/Immunology, Evanston (Ill) Hospital, and the Department of Neurology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago.

Arch Neurol. 1984;41(6):647-653. doi:10.1001/archneur.1984.04210080055014

As in other areas of medicine that are in flux because of rapidly accumulating knowledge, most plasmapheresis therapy procedures have not yet solidified into routine clinical practice. The apparent controversies engendered by such a state of affairs tend gradually to fade away as a broader base of experience with the new technology forms within the medical community. It appears that plasmapheresis therapy is becoming accepted in the treatment of some neurologic diseases, but in most instances it probably has considerable unexploited potential. In this report I have attempted to summarize current knowledge about plasmapheresis therapy in neurology.

MYASTHENIA GRAVIS (MG)  The beneficial effects of plasmapheresis in MG and the excellent inverse correlation between changes in clinical status and a change in the level of antibody to acetylcholine receptor (anti-AChR) were discovered independently by a group in London and by us in 1976 and 1977.1-3

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