Although expensive, the ‘cleaning’ of blood (apheresis) is a viable option for people with severe hypercholesterolemia
Familial hypercholesterolemia is characterized by very high concentrations of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in the blood. In such cases where drug-mediated cholesterol regulation is ineffective, LDL-apheresis might prove the only remedy if effective. Orsoni and colleagues tested the ability of LDL-apheresis over a two-year period. In addition to removing LDL subparticles and apoproteins, the treatment also removed apoE-high density lipoprotein HDL (apoE-HDL), which can adhere to vessel walls, promoting the growth of plaques. Thus, the findings suggest that although an expensive treatment option, such apheresis is effective at lowering the concentration of circulating lipoproteins in those patients who do not respond to other therapies.