Plasma exchange in progressive systemic sclerosis

Mohammad Bagher Owlia


Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is an autoimmune systemic disease of unknown etiology. Present treatment modalities have limited impact on clinical/ laboratory outcomes. For the first time in our center, we used plasma exchange (PEx) in a rather young woman with recent onset but progressive SSc. She is a 39-year-old woman with a recent history of skin stiffness, Raynaud’s phenomenon, nail fold capillary changes and newly diagnosis of SSc presented to us due to worsening her clinical symptoms even after initiation of routine remedies such as low dose oral prednisolone, Ca-channel blockers, azathioprine and pentoxyfylline. After obtaining written consent, interdisciplinary discussion with experts in this field and agreement we started a series of plasma exchange with FFP replacement for her. A dramatic clinical response was observed in respect to Raynaud’s phenomenon, skin stiffness, tendon rub after three sessions of PEx. Her modified Rodnan skin score (MRSS) dropped from 36 (before commencement of therapy) to 28 in day 4 and 18 in day 20 after 15 sessions of PEx. In conclusion PEx could significantly modify the course of SSc as observed in our case study. Elimination of culprit immune mediators/cytokines/autoantibodies could be the possible mechanism of action of PEx.



Systemic sclerosis, plasma exchange, therapy, plasmapheresis, treatment

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