New Treatment Options for Leukaemia Patients

With the Fresenius AS.TEC 204 cell separator, the Clinic for Haematology and Oncology, in close cooperation with the Nephrology/Dialysis Department, now has the possibility of treating leukostasis syndrome in oncology patients suffering from leukaemia with even greater efficacy. In 10-20% of cases of  leukaemia, there is such a dramatic increase in the white blood cells (leukocytes >100,000/µl) in the bloodstream that the flow characteristics of the blood deteriorate and blood flow to vital organs is impaired. The tiniest vessels (microcirculation) are then literally blocked by the leukocytes. Typical symptoms include acute respiratory distress extending to lung failure, dizziness, impaired consciousness and coma, visual disturbances or even myocardial infarction.

With the aid of a cell separator such as the AS.TEC 204, the leukocytes can now be deliberately removed from the bloodstream and the leukocyte count can be rapidly and effectively reduced. This is a prerequisite for restoration of normal organ blood flow.

This procedure, which is unique in the region, is used to help the patient during the acute phase until the chemotherapy treatment undertaken simultaneously takes effect and reduces the blood leukocyte count.
The cell separator may also be used for patients with other hyperviscosity syndromes (for example thickening of the blood as a result of incorrect proteins) in order to prevent further complications for the patient such as stroke and myocardial infarction. Patients with multiple myeloma or Waldenström's macroglobulinaemia, for instance, may be considered for this treatment.

Furthermore, by using an HCO membrane we are also able to filter light chains, which can cause permanent kidney damage in cases of multiple myeloma. This offers a quick and lasting improvement to the patient's prognosis.

This acquisition was only made possible by the financial support of the Friends Association Regionaler Onkologischer Schwerpunkt Eschweiler e.V. The association supports the work of the Clinic for Haematology and Oncology at the St.-Antonius-Hospital and of the Euregio Breast Centre and the Prostatic Carcinoma Centre in order to continuously improve the comprehensive treatment of the hospital's cancer patients.

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Academic teaching hospital of the RWTH technical university, Aachen

Clinic for Haematology and Oncology

Dechant-Deckers-Str. 8
52249 Eschweiler

+49 2403 - 889464

St.-Antonius-Hospital gGmbH
Dechant-Deckers-Str. 8
52249 Eschweiler
tel.: 02403 76 - 0
fax: 02403 76 -1119

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