Apheresis is a medical technology in which blood from a donor or patient is passed through a machine. The machine, called a cell separator, separates the blood into its various components and one particular constituent is removed, before returning the remaining blood back in to the circulation. The components from blood that can be removed are white blood cells (Leukopheresis), red blood cells (Erythopheresis), platelets (Thrombopheresis), plasma (Plasmapheresis), or stem cells that are collected and used for bone marrow transplantation.
The Apheresis Unit performs a variety of therapeutic apheresis procedures for patients with Haematological, Renal, and Neurological diseases. The unit is also a collection centre for stem cells for patients requiring bone marrow transplantation. Treatments on the cell separator last from three to six hours. For some patients the apheresis treatment is one off, for others it is a course of treatments over ten days or so, and for others it is a regular treatment on a weekly or monthly basis.
The Apheresis Unit at Royal North Shore Hospital is accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA).