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Experience with Leukapherisi

Forums General Melanoma Community Experience with Leukapherisi

  • Post
    killmel
    Participant

      Please help me. I am considering a vaccine that I would need to do Leukapherisi. Anyone have Leukapherisi, please describe the process…is it difficult or painful??? How long does it take??? How many needles, etc.

      Thank you I am so scared to do Leukapherisi.

      Please help me. I am considering a vaccine that I would need to do Leukapherisi. Anyone have Leukapherisi, please describe the process…is it difficult or painful??? How long does it take??? How many needles, etc.

      Thank you I am so scared to do Leukapherisi.

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    • Replies
        sofiaeli
        Participant

          My husband had to do this before he entered into his current trial.  From what I understand from him, (I wasn't allowed to sit with him) it wasn't a big deal.  They hooked him up to 2 IVs.  They took the blood out of one arm, put it through a machine that spun out the white blood cells, and then put the blood back in the other arm.  It took a couple of hours.  He'll do another round the first week of December, but that one will only take 1 hour.  I guess it depends on how many cells they need.  

          Hope this info helps!  Take care of yourself!!

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          sofiaeli
          Participant

            My husband had to do this before he entered into his current trial.  From what I understand from him, (I wasn't allowed to sit with him) it wasn't a big deal.  They hooked him up to 2 IVs.  They took the blood out of one arm, put it through a machine that spun out the white blood cells, and then put the blood back in the other arm.  It took a couple of hours.  He'll do another round the first week of December, but that one will only take 1 hour.  I guess it depends on how many cells they need.  

            Hope this info helps!  Take care of yourself!!

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            Jim M.
            Participant

              I did leukapheresis 3 times while I was on a clinical trial. It's not bad. The purpose is to send your blood through a cell seperator machine which divides the blood into red, white cells and plasma. White blood cells are collected in a bag. Then the rest of your blood returns to you through the i.v. on your other arm. First they find an adequate vein on each arm and put in i.vs. They will test the outgoing vein to see if it gets the blood to the machine. I believe they also flushed my veins to determine if they'd work.When that is successful you will lie on a cot while your i.vs. are hooked up to the machine. You continue to lie on your back for 2.5 to 3 hours until the machine collects the amount the doctor needs. Then your i.vs are taken out and that's it.

               The 2nd time I did the pheresis it wasn't so easy. I was stuck about 5 times in one arm to find an outgoing vein. Most of the veins were good and the blood would flow until it got to the machine. Then the blood clotted and stopped flowing. They were very frustrated and didn't know what to do. Finally I had a 9 inch Quentin catheter inserted into a major vein in my groin. I was completely covered as if I were to have surgery. Immediately after the nurse removed the catheter she basically sat on me (not her full weight) for 30 minutes to ensure that blood wouldn't squirt everywhere (hence me being covered). That day I was in the pheresis dept. for 7 hours. Granted I'm sure this is pretty uncommon. The clinical research head nurse would check on me and asked if I had been eating lots of leafy greens. I told her I was. She said leafy greens can cause the blood to clot. I wish I knew that before.

              Assuming the right veins are found the first time you won't get stuck much. The trick is to load up on water/fluids beginning at least a week before the leukapheresis. They will have an easier time finding veins if you do. The other trick is to unload your bladder before the process because once you're hooked up to the machine there's no going to the bathroom (you can pee into a container while you're lying down). The procedure is painless except for needle sticks. One time I felt pressure on a vein and I believe they had to find another one.

               Did you have surgery at either of your axillas (armpits)? Any lymph node dissection there? If you did and if they stick your arm on the affected side your risk of getting lymphedema in that arm increases. I was told in no uncertain terms to avoid needle sticks, injuries, taking of blood pressure,etc. on my right arm. The protocol for the clinical trial included the leukapheresis and I never questioned them about putting an i.v. in my right arm. Several months after the 3rd pheresis I developed lymphedema which is a lifelong, albeit manageable condition. If you are concerned about this I would question the medical team how can they achieve their purposes without sticking your affected arm

               Hope this helps and God Bless,

               Jim M.

               Stage 3C

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              Jim M.
              Participant

                I did leukapheresis 3 times while I was on a clinical trial. It's not bad. The purpose is to send your blood through a cell seperator machine which divides the blood into red, white cells and plasma. White blood cells are collected in a bag. Then the rest of your blood returns to you through the i.v. on your other arm. First they find an adequate vein on each arm and put in i.vs. They will test the outgoing vein to see if it gets the blood to the machine. I believe they also flushed my veins to determine if they'd work.When that is successful you will lie on a cot while your i.vs. are hooked up to the machine. You continue to lie on your back for 2.5 to 3 hours until the machine collects the amount the doctor needs. Then your i.vs are taken out and that's it.

                 The 2nd time I did the pheresis it wasn't so easy. I was stuck about 5 times in one arm to find an outgoing vein. Most of the veins were good and the blood would flow until it got to the machine. Then the blood clotted and stopped flowing. They were very frustrated and didn't know what to do. Finally I had a 9 inch Quentin catheter inserted into a major vein in my groin. I was completely covered as if I were to have surgery. Immediately after the nurse removed the catheter she basically sat on me (not her full weight) for 30 minutes to ensure that blood wouldn't squirt everywhere (hence me being covered). That day I was in the pheresis dept. for 7 hours. Granted I'm sure this is pretty uncommon. The clinical research head nurse would check on me and asked if I had been eating lots of leafy greens. I told her I was. She said leafy greens can cause the blood to clot. I wish I knew that before.

                Assuming the right veins are found the first time you won't get stuck much. The trick is to load up on water/fluids beginning at least a week before the leukapheresis. They will have an easier time finding veins if you do. The other trick is to unload your bladder before the process because once you're hooked up to the machine there's no going to the bathroom (you can pee into a container while you're lying down). The procedure is painless except for needle sticks. One time I felt pressure on a vein and I believe they had to find another one.

                 Did you have surgery at either of your axillas (armpits)? Any lymph node dissection there? If you did and if they stick your arm on the affected side your risk of getting lymphedema in that arm increases. I was told in no uncertain terms to avoid needle sticks, injuries, taking of blood pressure,etc. on my right arm. The protocol for the clinical trial included the leukapheresis and I never questioned them about putting an i.v. in my right arm. Several months after the 3rd pheresis I developed lymphedema which is a lifelong, albeit manageable condition. If you are concerned about this I would question the medical team how can they achieve their purposes without sticking your affected arm

                 Hope this helps and God Bless,

                 Jim M.

                 Stage 3C

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                EricNJill
                Participant

                  If the treatment you are doing is through the Hillman Cancer Center they will probably put the line in through the neck.  My husband had Leukapherisis done for a Intralympatic vacinne trial there and instead of going through the arms they ran two tubes in the neck that split.  It wasn't anymore painful than getting a PICC line he said.  The actual process was very easy. 

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                  EricNJill
                  Participant

                    If the treatment you are doing is through the Hillman Cancer Center they will probably put the line in through the neck.  My husband had Leukapherisis done for a Intralympatic vacinne trial there and instead of going through the arms they ran two tubes in the neck that split.  It wasn't anymore painful than getting a PICC line he said.  The actual process was very easy. 

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                    dian in spokane
                    Participant

                      Hi,

                      I had it done when I started my vaccine trial back in April, I had Leukopheresis. I was a little afraid of it too, but it turned out to be fairly simple.

                      They were unable to get good entry and inserted a port instead. I've always been afraid of the IDEA of getting a port, so that freaked me out for a couple of minutes, but it was simple enough.

                      The procedure itself was not painful..I had some shaking, which, along with numbness around the mouth, is some kind of sign of low calcium, which can happen, and they gave me IV calcium.

                      The cell biologist who created my cell line came in while I was doing it and they told me that HE was one of the people who had it done on himself when they got the new machine because they needed to test it.

                      Back in april, when it was fresh in my mind, I wrote a post here explaining it all step by step. I've been unable to find it in the archived posts (I'm not that great at searching) But I also shared that on FB, so I'm pretty sure I can find it. If you'd like to email me, I can cut and paste that info into an email and send it to you. You can reach me at [email protected]

                      Which vaccine is it?

                      dian in spokane

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                      dian in spokane
                      Participant

                        Hi,

                        I had it done when I started my vaccine trial back in April, I had Leukopheresis. I was a little afraid of it too, but it turned out to be fairly simple.

                        They were unable to get good entry and inserted a port instead. I've always been afraid of the IDEA of getting a port, so that freaked me out for a couple of minutes, but it was simple enough.

                        The procedure itself was not painful..I had some shaking, which, along with numbness around the mouth, is some kind of sign of low calcium, which can happen, and they gave me IV calcium.

                        The cell biologist who created my cell line came in while I was doing it and they told me that HE was one of the people who had it done on himself when they got the new machine because they needed to test it.

                        Back in april, when it was fresh in my mind, I wrote a post here explaining it all step by step. I've been unable to find it in the archived posts (I'm not that great at searching) But I also shared that on FB, so I'm pretty sure I can find it. If you'd like to email me, I can cut and paste that info into an email and send it to you. You can reach me at [email protected]

                        Which vaccine is it?

                        dian in spokane

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