Round Table on Graves’ Ophthalmopathy
Plasma Exchange Therapy for Severe Graves’ OphthalmopathyGlinoer D. · Schrooyen M.
Departments of Internal Medicine and Ophthalmology, Hôpital Saint-Pierre, Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
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The authors report on the treatment of 11 Graves’ disease patients with severe ophthalmopathy by the use of intensive plasma exchange followed by immunosuppression. Results were evaluated by comparing the opthalmopathy index and the orbital CT scan performed before and after plasmapheresis. Favorable results were obtained in 91 % of the patients. The best positive effects of plasmapheresis were observed for soft tissue involvement, proptosis, tonometry, and visual acuity. Furthermore, a significant reduction in the size and density of enlarged extraocular muscles was also found. Six months after withdrawal of immunosupression, 4 patients presented a moderate recurrence of ophthalmopathy and were treated successfully by a second course of plasmapheresis, followed by short immunosuppression. In conclusion, the use of intensive plasma exchange associated with immunosuppression is an effective approach to the treatment of severe Graves’ ophthalmopathy. It yields rapid and dramatic improvements that are maintained in most patients after withdrawal of immunosuppression. Recurrences are still responsive to the beneficial effects of this combined treatment.
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