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Introduction:  An increasing demand for blood components is opposed by a decreasing donor availability for the collection of the required blood components. Furthermore, current stem cell transplantation regiments require the collection of more than one similar or different component from one donor or patient. One strategy for maintaining the patients’ supply with the required blood components can be the concurrent collection of more than one component from one donor by apheresis, thus multicomponent apheresis.

Scope of multicomponent combinations:  Combinations are possible for nearly every kind of blood components. In one session it is possible – depending on the apheresis device – to collect up to four plasma units alone, one or more plasma units and one or two red blood cell (RBC) units, one or more plasma units and one or more platelet units, one or more plasma units and one or two RBC units and one or more platelet units, one or two RBC units and one or more platelet units, two RBC units alone, one or more platelet units.

Also in leucocytapheresis the collection of more than one blood component has become a routine procedure. Performing allogeneic stem cell apheresis can lead to a cell dose for two transplantations or to one unit of PBSCs and concurrently collected and frozen mononuclear cells used for donor lymphocyte infusions therapy. Autologous mononuclear cell products (e.g. PBSCs or monocytes for dendritic cell generation) usually are cryoconserved before use and require additional plasmaproteins for cryoconservation. The latter can be obtained by the concurrent collection of plasma during leucocytapheresis. Thus, the combination of cell and plasma units or of cell units of different dose or for different purpose are further examples for the implementation of multicomponent apheresis in tumor therapy.

Conclusions:  The understanding of apheresis technologies facilitates the use of multicomponent apheresis in the vast application field for tailoring the kind, quantity, and quality of blood components for patient care.