Exchange Transfusion Therapy

Also known as: transfusion therapy.

What is exchange transfusion therapy?

Exchange transfusion therapy is a form of blood transfusion in which the body’s blood is removed and replaced. It’s used as a procedure to treat serious symptoms related to sickle cell disease. When it comes to treating pain related to sickle cell disease, exchange transfusion therapy has been used in attempts to alleviate bouts of severe, intractable pain with better effect, overall.

What happens during the procedure?

Several thin tubes, called catheters, are placed into a blood vessel. In short cycles, a small amount of blood is removed from the body and replaced with fresh blood. This process is repeated until the proper amount of blood in the body has been replaced.

Is any special preparation needed?

Blood testing is required to determine the patient’s blood type. This way, compatible blood can be used for the transfusion.

What are the risk factors?

Infection, bleeding, bruising, blood clots, heart and lung problems and shock are all potential risk factors related to exchange transfusion therapy.

Reviewed by: Athena C Pefkarou, MD

This page was last updated on: November 06, 2020 02:59 PM

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Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease is a group of familial red blood cell disorders. Sickle cell disease causes the red blood cells to be oddly shaped, and have difficulty flowing through the blood vessels properly which causes them to break up easily resulting in anemia and damage to the organs. Learn more

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Sickle cell causes the body’s hemoglobin, or red blood cells, to take on a sickle shape and not flow through the blood vessels as smoothly. The “zero” indicates that the blood has no normal hemoglobin. Learn more

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