Authors: Fernandez J, Gratacos-Gines J, Olivas P, Costa M, Nieto S, Mateo D

PMID: 32833695 PMCID: PMC7493773 DOI: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000004613


Objectives: Infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 can induce uncontrolled systemic inflammation and multiple organ failure. The aim of this study was to evaluate if plasma exchange, through the removal of circulating mediators, can be used as rescue therapy in these patients.

Design: Single center case series.

Setting: Local study.

Subjects: Four critically ill adults with coronavirus disease 19 pneumonia that failed conventional interventions.

Interventions: Plasma exchange. Two to six sessions (1.2 plasma volumes). Human albumin (5%) was used as the main replacement fluid. Fresh frozen plasma and immunoglobulins were administered after each session to avoid coagulopathy and hypogammaglobulinemia.

Measurements and main results: Serum markers of inflammation and macrophage activation. All patients showed a dramatic reduction in inflammatory markers, including the main cytokines, and improved severity scores after plasma exchange. All survived to ICU admission.

Conclusions: Plasma exchange mitigates cytokine storm, reverses organ failure, and could improve survival in critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019 infection.

Keywords: plasma exchange, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2