Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Meningococcal septicaemia treated with combined plasmapheresis and leucapheresis or with blood exchange.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 11 February 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:439
  1. B Bjorvatn,
  2. L Bjertnaes,
  3. H O Fadnes,
  4. T Flaegstad,
  5. T J Gutteberg,
  6. B E Kristiansen,
  7. J Pape,
  8. O P Rekvig,
  9. B Osterud,
  10. L Aanderud


    Mortality among patients suffering from meningococcal septicaemia has reached nearly 50% in parts of northern Norway despite intensive care. The activation of complement and blood cells by endotoxin is assumed to be the cause of most of the associated pathophysiological changes. Consequently, it would seem logical to remove such constituents either by combined plasmapheresis and leucapheresis or by blood exchange in patients with a fatal prognosis. Three patients were treated with plasmapheresis and leucapheresis and one with blood exchange. All recovered without sequelae, and no complications or serious problems caused by these procedures were observed. It is concluded that either combined leucapheresis and plasmapheresis or blood exchange is well tolerated and a valuable supplement to conventional intensive care in fulminant meningococcal septicaemia.