apheresis

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apheresis

(əfĕr`əsĭs), or

hemapheresis

(hē'məfĕr`əsĭs), any procedure in which bloodblood,
fluid pumped by the heart that circulates throughout the body via the arteries, veins, and capillaries (see circulatory system; heart). An adult male of average size normally has about 6 quarts (5.6 liters) of blood.
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 is drawn from a donor or patient and a component (platelets, plasmaplasma,
in physics, fully ionized gas of low density, containing approximately equal numbers of positive and negative ions (see electron and ion). It is electrically conductive and is affected by magnetic fields.
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, or white blood cells) is separated out, the remaining blood components being returned to the body. Apheresis allows the donor's blood volume to replenish itself much more quickly than whole blood donation. One type of apheresis, plasmapheresis, is commonly used in commercial blood banksblood bank,
site or mobile unit for collecting, processing, typing, and storing whole blood, blood plasma and other blood constituents. Most hospitals maintain their own blood reserves, and the American Red Cross provides a nationwide collection and distribution service.
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. In plasmapheresis the plasma (the liquid portion of the blood) is separated from donated blood, the red blood cells being returned to the donor. In some diseases, such as myasthenia gravismyasthenia gravis
, chronic disorder of the muscles characterized by weakness and a tendency to tire easily. It is caused by an autoimmune attack on the acetylcholine receptor of the post synaptic neuromuscular junction.
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, plasmapheresis is used to attempt to remove the disease-causing substances from the blood.