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Keywords:

  • Rapidly progressing glomerulonephritis;
  • Glomerulonephritis;
  • Renal failure;
  • Plasma exchange;
  • Plasmapheresis;
  • Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody

Abstract: Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) has been widely accepted as a successful means of removing the antiglomerular basement membrane (anti-GBM) antibodies that result in the rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis (RPGN) of Goodpasture's syndrome. TPE has also been investigated as a means of removing the immune complexes associated with the glomerulonephritides of systemic lupus erythematosus, IgA nephropathy, Henoch Schönlein purpura, and cryoglobulinemia. Recently, an antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of RPGN associated with such diseases such as Wegener's granulomatosis and periarteritis nodosa. ANCA has also been found in many cases of RPGN formally considered to be idiopathic. The identification of this autoantibody has given new credence to the possibility that TPE may be beneficial in the treatment of these diseases. This article reviews the data regarding the use of TPE for RPGN.