White Blood Cell Removal

Also known as: leukocytapheresis.

What is white blood cell removal?

With some medical conditions such as leukemia, the body may produce too many white blood cells, and they need to be removed from the body. The process of collecting these white blood cells and removing them from the bloodstream is known as white blood cell removal.

What happens during the procedure?

In many cases, white blood cell removal simply requires a blood draw from the arm with a large needle. Some people will require a catheter or port in order to withdraw the blood if their veins are too small. Once the white blood cells are removed from the blood with a special machine, the cells are replaced with other fluids, and then the blood is returned to the body with another injection, or through the catheter or port.

Is any special preparation needed?

The patient is sedated during white blood cell removal. It may be necessary to avoid food, drink or certain medications before the procedure.

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 white blood cell removal.

Reviewed by: Balagangadhar Totapally, MD

This page was last updated on: January 21, 2022 11:00 AM