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Platelet Reduction Apheresis

Platelet reduction apheresis, also known as therapeutic thrombocytapheresis or plateletpheresis, is a nonsurgical therapy that reduces the quantity of platelets in a patient's blood.

Platelets (thrombocytes) are a component of the blood that are important for blood clotting. A person with too few platelets risks uncontrolled bleeding. A person with too many platelets may experience life-threatening blood clot formation.  

Platelet reduction apheresis involves removing blood through a needle or catheter and circulating it through a machine where the blood is separated into red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma. The platelets are discarded and the remainder of the blood components are circulated back to the patient through a return needle.

What does platelet reduction apheresis treat?

At UC San Diego Health, platelet reduction apheresis is used to treat patients with essential thrombocytosis. Essential thrombocytosis, or essential thrombocythemia, is a disease characterized by the body's overproduction of platelets.

Potential side effects

Platelet reduction apheresis is a safe procedure with a few possible side effects. You may have discomfort at the needle site and occasional light-headedness during treatment. A nurse will check on you regularly during treatment and a physician will be onsite.

Appointments & Referrals


La Jolla

All UC San Diego Health hospitals provide inpatient apheresis.

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