LDL apheresis is a procedure that targets and removes harmful Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) from a patient’s bloodstream, returning other blood components such as blood cells, proteins, antibodies and HDL back into the body. In essence, it “washes” the bad cholesterol out of the plasma of patients who are at high risk for atherosclerotic disease complications resulting from elevated cholesterol. Emory Heart & Vascular is the only Georgia facility that offers the procedure, which has proven to be effective, safe, and unique.
A single treatment of LDL apheresis has proven to lower LDL-C as much as 83%, with minimal impact on other plasma components such as HDL-C and albumin. Additionally, patients respond to it very well—no other procedure has the ability to selectively target a LDL-C treatment goal.
In order to be eligible for the treatment, the FDA stipulates that patients must first be on maximum medication and diet therapy for a minimum of 6 months, and meet the following criteria:
- LDL cholesterol greater than 200 mg/di and documented coronary heart disease
- LDL cholesterol greater than 300 mg/dl without coronary heart disease
This procedure has been FDA approved since 1996—since then, there have been over 25,000 treatments performed across the nation. Fortunately, most insurance policies cover LDL apheresis.
This video features Peggy Vardeman of Gainesville, one of the first patients at Emory to undergo LDL apheresis:
If you have any questions about LDL apheresis, or know anyone who could benefit from this procedure, please let me know in the comments section.
About Dr. Laurence Sperling, MD:
Dr. Sperling specializes in internal medicine and cardiology—his areas of clinical interest are cardiac catheterization, cardiac rehabilitation, general cardiology, echocardiogram, lipid metabolism, and electron beam computed tomography. Dr. Sperling has been practicing with Emory since 1997, and has received various awards from the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association Council, and Emory University Hospital. He serves as medical director for a number of unique programs at Emory including the HeartWise Risk Reduction Program, InterVent Atlanta, Staying Aloft, Emory’s LDL aperesis program, and has served as special consultant to The Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Sperling has been voted one of America’s Top Doctors, and has been featured often on local and national TV, newspaper, radio, and magazines.