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Kidney Diseases

Surviving Ongoing TTP with Dialysis

08/01/2011

Question:

Can a person with ttp that is not responding to any of the treatments live on dialysis and apheresis as an outpatient? If so how long?

Answer:

Without knowing the details of your case, it is not possible to give a more specific answer; but in general: yes, it should be possible to live on both dialysis (which supports kidney function) and apheresis (which attempts to remove the substances that destroy platelets in TTP, and to replace a missing protein in the blood).

The length of time that one can survive both treatments depends on complications that may occur, especially if the TTP is not responding to treatment.  Complications include bleeding from low platelet count, infection (for which there is an increased risk with both procedures), and neurologic problems.  Be aware that apheresis is often discontinued if it doesn't seem to be helping, but there are several medications that suppress the immune system in various ways that may be used instead.

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Response by:

Mildred   Lam, MD Mildred Lam, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University