Authors: Hashemian SM, Shafigh N, Afzal G, Jamaati H, Tabarsi P, Marjani M

PMID: 33358260 PMCID: PMC7834188 DOI: 10.1016/j.pulmoe.2020.10.017


Background: In December 2019, pneumonia associated with a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was reported in Wuhan, China. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is the most frequently observed complication in COVID-19 patients with high mortality rates.

Objective of study: To observe the clinical effect of plasmapheresis on excessive inflammatory reaction and immune features in patients with severe COVID-19 at risk of ARDS.

Materials and methods: In this single-center study, we included 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Masih Daneshvari Hospital, in March 2020 in Tehran, Iran. COVID-19 cases were confirmed by RT-PCR and CT imaging according to WHO guidelines. Plasmapheresis was performed to alleviate cytokine-induced ARDS. The improvement in oxygen delivery (PaO2/FiO2), total number of T cells, liver enzymes, acute reaction proteins, TNF-α and IL-6 levels were evaluated.

Results: Inflammatory cytokine levels (TNF-α, IL-6), and acute phase reaction proteins including ferritin and CRP were high before plasmapheresis. After plasmapheresis, the levels of PaO2/FiO2, acute phase reactants, inflammatory mediators, liver enzymes and bilirubin were significantly reduced within a week (p < 0.05). In contrast, although the number of T helper cells decreased immediately after plasmapheresis, they rose to above baseline levels after 1 week. Nine out of fifteen patients on non-invasive positive-pressure ventilation (NIPPV) survived whilst the six patients undergoing invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) died. Conclusion: Our data suggests that plasmapheresis improves systemic cytokine and immune responses in patients with severe COVID-19 who do not undergo IMV. Further controlled studies are required to explore the efficacy of plasmapheresis treatment in patients with COVID-19.[/fusion_text][fusion_text columns="" column_min_width="" column_spacing="" rule_style="" rule_size="" rule_color="" hue="" saturation="" lightness="" alpha="" content_alignment_medium="" content_alignment_small="" content_alignment="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" sticky_display="normal,sticky" class="" id="" margin_top="" margin_right="" margin_bottom="" margin_left="" fusion_font_family_text_font="" fusion_font_variant_text_font="" font_size="" line_height="" letter_spacing="" text_transform="" text_color="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_color="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_delay="0" animation_offset=""]Keywords: ARDS; Blood purification; Critically ill COVID-19; Cytokine storm; Plasmapheresis.