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Transplant Recipients | Desensitization


It is estimated that over 30 percent of the population waiting on a transplant is sensitized. Being sensitized means that there are harmful antibodies in the blood stream that would fight a transplanted organ. Individuals who have these antibodies have typically developed them through a previous exposure to a foreign tissues that has been introduced through a blood transfusion, a previous transplant or through pregnancy.


There are proven methods and therapies that can be used to help rid these antibodies from the blood stream. This therapy is called “Desensitization”.


What is Desensitization:
Desensitization is a process that removes the harmful antibodies from the blood stream. These antibodies, which fight foreign tissue like those found on a donated organ, can cause rejection.


There are several types of Desensitization:

  • IVIg : This a therapy that is uses a drug called immunoglobulin that is delivered via an IV. This therapy can be administered in a clinical setting or in the privacy and comfort of your own home. In every case, there is a Registered Nurse with you through the entire treatment that monitors the delivery of this drug. This drug is safe and has been used for years treating a variety of diseases.
  • Plasmapheresis: This therapy involves a plasma exchange that removes these antibodies from the body. Plasmapheresis is given in a hospital setting and usually followed by IVIg therapy.


If your transplant physician has told you that you are sensitized, you can speak with them regarding a treatment plan that is designed specifically for you.


If you desire additional information regarding Desensitization, please speak with your transplant team.