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| The Cochran Firm - Dallas

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS/RSD) has remained a mystery in terms of how to best treat it, but a new, potentially effective treatment known as plasma exchange (PE) therapy gives new hope for those suffering from the chronic pain condition.

A study published in Pain Physician looked at PE therapy and found that it may have positive results in certain patients when used in combination with other therapies. The researchers who conducted the study first tried intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatments in four patients with CRPS/RSD, but only had success with one patient.

Motivated by the idea that CRPS patients sometimes present with symptoms suggestive of a small fiber neuropathy, the researchers began a retrospective case series study involving 33 patients with CRPS/RSD who received PE treatment at Drexel University between September 2012 and June 2014.

After a series of PE therapies performed over a two to three week period, the patients had a pain evaluation, and 30 of the 33 demonstrated a significant pain reduction of 64 percent following the initial PE series. Twenty-four patients are receiving maintenance therapy, and their pain reduction has been maintained with either weekly PE or IVIG, while the remaining six patients did not receive maintenance therapy and their pain has returned to pre-treatment levels.

What is PE Therapy?

Plasma exchange is an extracorporeal therapy involving the extraction of the patient’s whole blood, which is then separated into plasma and blood cells. The plasma is removed and replaced with another solution, such as human albumin in saline or specially prepared donor plasma. The reconstituted plasma substitute, along with the blood cells, is then returned to the patient.

While the researchers acknowledge that large, randomized studies may be required to confirm their results, they are hopeful that such studies may lead to new therapies for this severe, life-altering condition.


  1. Gravatar for Tamera Kuchenbecker
    Tamera Kuchenbecker

    I have this nasty life altering dasease. I also have a spinal stimulator iin. Can this be used on top of my stimulator?

  2. Gravatar for Sandy Zingaro
    Sandy Zingaro

    i have 2 spinal cord stimulators. How does plasma exchange affect the sympathetic nerves.

  3. Gravatar for Eleanor Pat Hawkins
    Eleanor Pat Hawkins

    I Have Had RSD Since 1988.

    Thanks And I Appreciate

  4. Gravatar for Auberon

    I've tolerated ;life with this horrid thing for near 15 years with only at best dabbling with t=2 stimulators - one in CNS and the other implanted peripherally. I've come to the conclusion it is hugely inflammatory - as opioids really do aggravate it. I would be thinking this has some merit in helping your own system calm the terror of living. Problem is that looking normal and being in hades is a paradox only you can understand. Looking in from the outside you "look" just fine and you'd take any drug free treatment cos it seems to me that every drug has a huge physical cost to bear.

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