For people who cannot reach their target LDL-cholesterol levels by changes in food, exercise and drug treatment, the addition of LDL-apheresis may be necessary.
High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. Most people can reduce high levels of “bad” cholesterol – or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – with lifestyle changes such as food modification, exercise and medication. However, for people who are predisposed to high cholesterol levels, adding a drug treatment is sometimes not enough. When maximum diet and drug treatment does not lower the LDL-cholesterol, the addition LDL-apheresis may be necessary.
How is the Procedure Performed?
LDL-apheresis consists of withdrawing blood from a vein through a needle, usually placed in the arm, and returning blood to the other arm after removal of the bad cholesterol. A candidate for this program is a person without heart disease whose LDL is above 300, or a person with heart disease and an LDL above 200, despite maximum diet and drug therapy for at least six months.
The procedure can take up to four hours and is repeated every two weeks. Patients will need to remain on a diet and continue medication in order to lower their LDL-cholesterol. This treatment must be prescribed and conducted by a physician trained in its specific use.
To refer a patient for LDL-Apheresis, use our online referral form.