About my treatment - apheresis FAQs

Learn about what happens on the day of your apheresis.

How is my blood taken?

There are two ways your blood can be taken for apheresis treatment. We may use the veins in your arms or a device known as a central venous catheter which is placed into one of the large veins in your chest and remains in until your course of treatment is complete.

Is the procedure painful or uncomfortable?

You may experience some discomfort while the needles are placed in your veins, but there is no pain associated with the procedure itself.

How long does it take?

The procedure usually takes one and a half to three and a half hours. The number and frequency of your treatment depends on the particular procedure.

Are there any side effects?

Although infrequent, there are some possible side effects associated with the procedure. These will be discussed with you prior to your treatment and you will be provided the opportunity to ask questions. A qualified apheresis nurse will also monitor you closely during your treatment.

Can I eat and drink before apheresis?

We encourage you to have a good intake of non-caffeine based fluids before each procedure; fluids help your body tolerate the procedure and assist with inserting needles. It is also important to eat normally.

What should I wear?

It is best to wear loose, comfortable clothing to your treatment appointments. If you are having needles inserted into your veins, short-sleeved tops are also recommended.

Can I bring someone with me?

Support from a family member or carer may make the procedure easier, especially at the beginning of your treatment. Staff will make every attempt to make your treatment as comfortable as possible. Books and DVDs are available, and you are welcome to bring your own.

What if I can’t get to an appointment?

If you can’t get to an appointment, you must advise your doctor or Apheresis Service team immediately. If you are having stem cells collected, it is vital that, once collections have commenced, they continue each day until sufficient cells have been collected.

Can I continue my normal medications?

Please advise your specialist and apheresis nurse about the medications you are taking (including over the counter medicines), as some may cause adverse side effects during the procedure.