Efficacy of therapeutic plasma exchange for treatment of stiff-person syndrome

Monica B. Pagano, Beth B. Murinson, Aaron A.R. Tobian, Karen E. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The efficacy of therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) in stiff-person syndrome (SPS) is unclear. Study Design and Methods A retrospective analysis of patients diagnosed with SPS who underwent TPE and a systematic literature review were conducted. Results Nine patients with the presumptive diagnosis of SPS who underwent TPE were identified. The mean age was 55 years (range, 34-72 years) and 78% (n=7) were female. Anti-GAD65 was present in 89% (n=8) of the patients (range, 1.9-40,000U/mL), and 33% (n=3) had a history of diabetes. Forty-four percent (n=4) of patients had previously received immunosuppressive medication and 67% (n=6) received intravenous immune globulin. The main indication for TPE was worsening of symptoms despite treatment with first-line therapy. Seventy-eight percent of the patients (n=7) had five TPE procedures. Seventy-eight percent (n=7) of patients demonstrated at least minimal clinical improvement and 56% (n=5) had a significant response. Most of the patients who demonstrated a significant response to treatment improved and their symptoms stabilized. Two patients (22%) developed adverse events, including catheter-associated infection and transient hypotension. Eighteen publications were found from the literature review, which resulted in a total of 26 patients diagnosed with SPS. Forty-two percent (n=11) of patients had a significant symptomatic improvement after TPE treatment, and two patients (8%) developed adverse events. Conclusion TPE may benefit patients with SPS who are not responsive to first-line therapy, and it is well tolerated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1851-1856
Number of pages6
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


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