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).



Patients must be referred to the service by a medical practitioner. Individuals are assessed on the day, by the Clinical Team, to confirm that they are fit for the procedure. Patients are contacted by the apheresis staff to assess any medications that may need to be omitted prior to the procedure.


Patients require a medical referral to the on-call Haematologist or to the Haematologist in charge of the Apheresis Service. During working hours patients can also be discussed and referred to the service through the Clinical Nurse Consultant for Apheresis.

Urgent cases

Urgent cases need to be referred to the on-call Haematologist for RNSH via the Hospital switchboard telephone 02 9926 7111.

Other Information

Patients need to have drunk a minimum of two litres of water the day prior to attending for their procedure. A normal diet should be taken. The apheresis staff will discuss with the patient which concurrent medications can be taken prior to the procedure. Patients undergoing apheresis for the first time should arrange for a friend or relative to escort them home.

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Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Level 1, Royal North Shore Hospital,
Reserve Rd
St Leonards, NSW 2065

Finding Us: The Apheresis Unit is located in the Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, which is on Level 1, Royal North Shore Hospital. When entering the hospitals main entrance via Reserve Road, take the Orange Lifts (or stairs) in the hospitals main foyer on Level 3, down two floors to Level 1 and follow the signs to the Northern Sydney Cancer Centre. The Day Treatment Unit is to the left of the main reception and waiting area.

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Monday – Friday
7.30am – 4.30pm

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02 9463 1229