Background: In Bangladesh, most patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) cannot afford standard treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) or a standard plasma exchange (PE) course, which partly explains the high rate of mortality and residual disability associated with GBS in this country. Small volume plasma exchange (SVPE) is an affordable and potentially effective alternative form of plasma exchange. SVPE is the repeated removal of small volumes of supernatant plasma over several days via sedimentation of patient whole blood. The aim of this study is to define the clinical feasibility and safety of SVPE in patients with GBS in resource poor settings. Methods: A total of 20 adult patients with GBS will be enrolled for SVPE at a single center in Bangladesh. Six daily sessions of whole blood sedimentation and plasma removal will be performed in all patients with GBS with a target to remove an overall volume of at least 8 liters (L) of plasma over a total of 8 days. Serious adverse events (SAE) are defined as the number of patients developing severe sepsis associated with the central venous catheter or deep venous thrombosis in the limb where the catheter is placed for SVPE. Based upon a predictive success rate of 75%, the SVPE procedure will be considered safe if less than 5 of 20 SVPE-treated GBS patients have a SAE. The procedure will be considered feasible if 8 L of plasma can be removed in at least 15 of 20 patients with GBS who receive SVPE. In addition, detailed clinical and neurological outcome assessments will be performed until discharge of the patient from the hospital and up to 4 weeks after study entry. Discussion: This is the first clinical study to evaluate the feasibility and safety of SVPE as a potential alternative low-cost treatment for the patients with GBS in resource poor settings.

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Pilot and Feasibility Studies
Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Islam, M. B., Islam, Z., Rahman, S. (Shafiqur), Endtz, H., Vos, M.C. (Margreet C.), van der Jagt, M., … Mohammad, Q. (2017). Small volume plasma exchange for Guillain-Barré syndrome in resource poor settings: A safety and feasibility study. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 3(1). doi:10.1186/s40814-017-0185-0