Education And Debate

Actual management: partial separation of excess lipid from plasma

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 04 January 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:64
  1. Godfrey Nyamugunduru,
  2. Helen Roper


    We formulated a hypothesis to explain our patient's progressively worsening metabolic acidosis despite treatment for shock and hyperglycaemia. We proposed that the oxygen carrying capacity of her blood was impaired by the lipid, leading to tissue hypoxia and lactic acidosis. Plasma lactic acid concentrations could not be measured. We hoped our patient would be improved by removal of some of the excess lipid.

    We first tried lipid separation by plasmapheresis. This method failed as the grossly lipaemic blood clogged the plasma filter. We next tried a cell separator but this machine failed to distinguish blood cells from the lipaemic sludge and the tubing became clogged and blocked. Eventually separation by centrifuge was successful. A unit of blood (450 ml) was removed from the patient through a femoral venous line and centrifuged, separating the red cells from …

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