My Life Abroad: The Adventures of Two Birds
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Jul '11

Medical Update: Case Report Published

Utilisation of plasma exchange in the treatment of digital infarcts in Wegener’s granulomatosis

International Journal of  Rheumatic Diseases

It’s been a long time coming, and the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases has published the Case Report on my case, which happened almost 2 years ago this month.  I finally got my hot little hands on the doucment so here it is for your reading pleasure.

More on my condition:  Diagnosed with Wegener’s Granulomatosis in 2009, I presented coughing blood from the lungs, and with painful blue fingers.  I ended up in the ICU for a couple weeks straight off the bat with pneumonia and potential swine flu (they assessed).  Although the swine flu wasn’t present it was a time at which it was highly contageous and I was treated anyway just to be safe.  The pneumonia passed and with Steriods and Chemotherapy I was back in a state at which all my treatment and diagnosis could begin.  You can look back in the blog under the search category: Medical to see previous posts regarding my condition and treatment.

After all was said and done, and diagnosed, my fingers were still a problem.  One amputation, of my wedding ring finger, and one finger that healed back to almost normal, then the other 8 fingers were left with a tingling feeling and numbness. 

There are several treatments for the fingers (digital infarcts) and one that is slightly experimental is plasma exchange or Plasmapheresis.  Plasmapheresis is the removal, treatment, and return of (components of) blood plasma from blood circulation. It is thus an extracorporeal therapy (a medical procedure which is performed outside the body). The method can also be used to collect plasma for further manufacturing into a variety of medications.

The procedure is used to treat a variety of disorders, including those of the immune system.  It is very similar and uses the same machines as dialysis, taking out the blood from the body, cleaning the plasma from the blood and putting back in the clean blood.  I went through 6 treatments of Plasmapheresis.

This Case Report shows the treatment that I went through, my fingers, and results from the treatment.  I have great feeling back in all my fingers, it didn’t start until about 10-11 weeks after the treatment but slowly it started to return.  I suppose there is no way really, since I did the treatment, to know if it worked or just the time healing on meds made the feeling in my fingers come back.  But overall, I’m happy with the result.  I only have one finger that’s a little dodgy but it’s the one that I use to tell you how I feel – so it works for that.

If you want to read the Case Report in it’s entirety click here:  CaseReport_IntlJournalofRheumaticDiseases

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