Some individuals experiencing debilitating lengthy COVID signs have spent tens of hundreds of euros touring throughout Europe to entry a ‘bloodwashing’ process that’s experimental and unproven.
‘Bloodwashing’, or apheresis, includes extracting an individual’s blood, filtering the blood to take away lipids and inflammatory proteins, and reinfusing it again into the physique.
The German Society of Nephrology considers apheresis an possibility of final resort for individuals with untreatable lipid problems. There have been no medical trials on individuals with lengthy COVID, and specialists say the scientific rationale for the remedy is shaky.
Apheresis carries dangers of bleeding, clotting, an infection, and reactions to brokers used within the process.
An investigation by Madlen Davies on the British Medical Journal discovered that one affected person from the Netherlands spent practically her complete life financial savings touring to Cyprus for a ‘bloodwashing’ process that provided no enchancment in her signs
The Dutch lady caught SARS-CoV-2 in November 2020 and skilled such excessive fatigue that it took her two hours to stroll to the kitchen.
She skilled mind fog, coronary heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and chest ache. A collection of medical assessments revealed nothing uncommon, which is regular for lengthy COVID.
The Dutch lady left her job in November 2021 after attempting to return to work twice. She joined a Fb group for individuals with lengthy COVID and noticed lots of chatter a few clinic in Germany that was providing apheresis.
Deciding to attempt the process, she traveled to the “Lengthy COVID Heart” in Cyprus in March 2022.
She rented an condominium on the seashore and spent two months present process six rounds of apheresis at €1,685 (US$1,697) a chunk.
Whereas in Cyprus, she underwent 9 rounds of hyperbaric oxygen remedy, the place the affected person breathes oxygen in a high-pressure chamber. She additionally tried an intravenous vitamin drip and a vitamin D injection.
Nothing helped. The so-called therapies plundered her financial savings with nothing to point out for it.
There are clinics in Germany, Switzerland, and Turkey that provide apheresis for lengthy COVID. The Lipid Heart North Rhine in Germany has carried out the process on hundreds of sufferers and claims to have good outcomes.
Apheresis supposedly reduces the stickiness of the blood and improves circulation within the smallest of blood vessels by eradicating microclots in individuals with lengthy COVID.
These providing the remedy argue that sufferers can’t await years for medical trials to be accomplished once they have such disabling situations and there the advantages of experimental procedures outweigh the dangers for some sufferers.
Nonetheless, there is no such thing as a revealed and peer-reviewed analysis exhibiting that apheresis helps deal with lengthy COVID.
“As we do not understand how they type, we can’t inform if this remedy will cease microclots from recurring,” Robert Ariens, a professor of vascular biology on the College of Leeds College of Drugs, stated.
“[Microclots] could also be a biomarker for illness, however how do we all know they’re causal?” he stated. “If we do not know the mechanisms by which the microclots type and whether or not or not they’re causative of illness, it appears untimely to design a remedy to take the microclots away, as each apheresis and triple anticoagulation should not with out dangers, the apparent one being bleeding.”
Anticoagulation may cause bruising, nosebleeds, and mind hemorrhages, so sufferers want long-term follow-up, which is difficult if they’re receiving care in a rustic apart from the one they usually stay.
The reason for lengthy COVID remains to be unknown. One of many main theories is that lengthy COVID is attributable to tiny blood clots within the lungs and blood vessels that gum up the system and stop blood move and oxygen switch across the physique.
Different theories hypothesize that lengthy COVID is attributable to a haywire immune system or the virus lingering within the physique. Some specialists suppose it may very well be a mix of all three.
This investigation was revealed within the British Medical Journal.