28-Year Old Female Undergoes Plasmapheresis for a Rare Condition

by Dr. Roopa Tekkatte

Posted on : Mar 27, 2021


Rekha (name changed), a 28- yr- old patient and mother of a newborn were brought to Aster RV hospital located in JP Nagar, Bangalore in a very critical condition. The patient had recently delivered at a private hospital in the city and was in her post-partum period when she experienced dry cough, breathlessness, joint pain and skin rashes over eyelids, neck and hands.

Dr. Roopa Tekkatte and the team of doctors at Aster RV hospital clinically examined the patient and after various tests like CT scan, blood test and muscle biopsy and was diagnosed with a rare condition known as Antisynthetase syndrome.

Antisynthetase syndrome is an autoimmune multisystem disease predominately causing inflammation and damage of muscle, skin, joints and lungs. It manifests as muscle ache and weakness, skin rash, joint pain, cough and shortness of breath. In this condition, auto-antibodies are produced against body tissue such as muscle, skin and lungs, leading to inflammation and permanent damage. This leads to a fatal outcome when left untreated.

The patient’s condition worsened despite commencing on steroids which is the first line of treatment. Hence the doctors immediately decided to perform plasmapheresis which is a life-saving treatment.

Plasmapheresis is widely known as a “rescue therapy” is a procedure used to remove life-threatening and complex auto-antibodies from the blood. This process is similar to kidney dialysis wherein auto-antibodies are removed from the blood.

Dr. Roopa Tekkatte, Consultant Rheumatologist, Aster RV Hospital said “On arrival to the hospital, the patient was in a life-threatening condition. She didn’t respond to the initial treatment with steroid therapy. Hence, we immediately treated her with the Plasmapheresis procedure to stabilise her condition and get her out of danger. This procedure does carry some complications like low blood pressure, allergic reaction, increased risk of thrombosis (blood clots) and infections. However, when performed in an appropriate environment by an experienced doctor, this can be a lifesaving treatment as in this case. Though, this condition is not completely curable it is treatable. Early diagnosis and treatment generally have a better outcome”.

"I heartfully thank the doctors at Aster RV Hospital doctors for saving me from such rare condition. I am on a path of recovery and looking forward to enjoying my motherhood. All thanks to the doctors and the team at Aster RV” says Rekha (name changed) patient.