Red Blood Cell Exchange

Also known as: erythrocytapheresis, red cell exchange, RBC exchange, red blood cell exchange apheresis.

What is red blood cell exchange?

Certain blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia, are characterized by problems with the blood cells themselves that can be difficult to treat. Red blood cell exchange is the process of removing red blood cells from
the body and replacing them with new ones.

What happens during the procedure?

The patient’s blood cells are removed from the body using either a needle or a catheter. The blood is circulated to a machine that separates it into individual types of cells. The red blood cells are removed and replaced by donor red blood cells. Then the blood is returned to the patient’s body.

Is any special preparation needed?

You may need to stop taking certain medications and avoid food or drink for a period of time before the procedure is performed.

What are the risk factors?

Dizziness, fainting, vomiting, nausea, bleeding, irregular heartbeat, bruising, pain, infection or  blood pressure issues are a few possible risks of of red blood cell exchange.


Reviewed by: Balagangadhar Totapally, MD

This page was last updated on: 8/16/2018 3:34:06 PM