- Open Access
Effect of plasma exchange in acute respiratory failure due to Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis
© The Author(s). 2018
- Received: 2 November 2018
- Accepted: 15 November 2018
- Published: 4 December 2018
Acute respiratory failure related to diffuse alveolar hemorrhage (DAH) is a typical presentation of small-vessel vasculitis that requires prompt multidisciplinary management. The primary treatment is based on immunosuppressive drugs, whereas urgent plasma exchange has been proposed in case of life-threatening complications. We addressed the course of respiratory failure in 12 patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis-related DAH.
Patients and methods
Observational retrospective case series performed in the medical ICU of a tertiary hospital in Paris, France. Consecutive patients with ANCA-associated DAH admitted to our ICU for acute respiratory failure and treated by plasmapheresis were included in the analysis. We evaluated the SpO2/FiO2 ratio and assessed the mechanical ventilation mode hourly for 7 days.
Twelve patients were included. Five of them required invasive mechanical ventilation. All patients were treated by plasma exchange in addition to a combination of glucocorticoids and immunosuppressive agents. Oxygenation improved over the first 7 days following initiation of plasma exchange, as shown by a dramatic increase in the median SpO2/FiO2 ratio from 183 [interquartile 137–321] to 353 [239–432] (p = 0.003), along with a decrease in the level of ventilatory support. All but one patient survived.
A multimodal induction regimen combining immunosuppressants and plasma exchange may rapidly reverse the respiratory dysfunction in ANCA-associated vasculitis-related DAH.
Besides infectious complications, severe acute flares of ANCA-associated vasculitis are common reasons that warrant ICU admission . Plasma exchange (PLEX) has been proposed as an urgent adjuvant treatment in patients with life-threatening organ dysfunctions [2, 3]. In order to explore this question, we conducted a retrospective monocenter study in our tertiary ICU. We included patients admitted to the ICU for acute respiratory failure related to DAH, diagnosed as ANCA-associated vasculitis, and who received urgent initiation of PLEX. DAH was defined by bilateral infiltrates on chest X-ray and macroscopically bloody bronchoalveolar lavage with hemorrhagic and siderophagic alveoliitis. PLEX was performed daily with 1.2 plasma volume plasmapheresis primarily substituted with fresh frozen plasma and then albumin 5% and fresh frozen plasma when needed to maintain a prothrombin time > 50% and a fibrinogen level > 1.5 g/L. The main outcome was the evolution of oxygenation over the first seven days, using the SpO2/FiO2 ratio. We present data as median [interquartile range] or number (percentage) as appropriate. P for trend for continuous variables was calculated using a Cuzick test.
Characteristics of patients
n = 12
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
Vasculitis flare as first manifestation of the disease
Previous maintenance treatments
Organ involvement at ICU admission
Respiratory SOFA component
Acute kidney injury requiring RRT
Renal SOFA component
Blood creatinine level (μmol/L)
Roteinuria (g/24 h)
Hemoglobin level (g/dL)
Therapeutics received in the ICU
Number of plasmapheresis courses
Invasive mechanical ventilation
ICU length of stay (days)a
In conclusion, this suggests the addition of PLEX results in fast respiratory recovery in most patients. This contrasts with the limited impact on renal function. The effects of PLEX are presumably related to fast removal of auto-antibodies as well as pro-inflammatory mediators likely to induce and/or sustain the increased permeability of the alveolo-capillar barrier.
GG was granted by the French Intensive Care Society.
Availability of data and materials
The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
GG and FP designed the study. GG, FH, HM, and JM collected the data. GG performed the statistical analysis. GG and FP drafted the manuscript. BT, JPM, and LM critically revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
The patients included in the study were not opposed to the anonymous use of collected data for research purposes.
Consent for publication
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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