Introduction: Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) for neuroimmunological disorders has played an increasingly important role within the Southeast Asian (SEA) region. The South East Asian Therapeutic Plasma exchange Consortium (SEATPEC) was formed in 2018 to promote education and research on TPE within the region. The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic has produced challenges for the development and expansion of this service. Methodology: A qualitative and semi-quantitative questionnaire-based survey was conducted by SEATPEC member countries from January to June 2020 (Phase 1) and then from July 2020 to January 2021 in (Phase 2) to assess the impact of Covid-19 on regional TPE. Objectives: The study's main objectives were to explore the challenges experienced and adaptations/adjustments taken by SEATPEC countries in order to continue safe and efficient TPE during the Covid-19 pandemic. Results: The pandemic was found to disrupt the delivery of TPE services in all SEATPEC countries. Contributing factors were multifactorial due to overstretched medical services, staff shortages, quarantines and redeployments, fear of acquiring Covid-19, movement restriction orders, and patient's psychological fear of attending hospitals/testing for Covid-19. All SEATPEC countries practiced careful stratification of cases for TPE (electives vs emergencies, Covid-19 vs non-Covid-19 cases). SEATPEC countries had to modify TPE treatment protocols to include careful preprocedure screening of patient's for Covid-19, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and post-TPE sanitization of machines and TPE suites. Conclusion: Based on the responses of the survey, SEATPEC countries produced a consensus statement with five recommendations for safe and effective TPE within the region.
- South East Asia
- therapeutic plasma exchange