Red Blood Cell Exchange Treatment Option in WA

We are so excited to announce that after almost two years of advocating to have Red Blood Cell (RBC) exchange transfusion for Sickle Cell patients in Western Australia, this is now a reality.

This week an adult living with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) started this treatment at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital  Perth. Also known as RBC exchange treatment, this is an apheresis technique used to rapidly lower the circulating RBC mass or to exchange the patient erythrocyte mass with donor Red Blood Cells.

We are so thrilled that patients in Western Australia (WA) can now also benefit from this treatment that has been long overdue. We started this process  when we were notified that this treatment option was not available in WA.

Further inquires from leading Haematologists in that State led us to be connected to the right professionals to make this possible. After a few consultations and a few emails back and forth, our member was assured that they would start the treatment this month. Again after a few hiccups, they finally managed to start this treatment on 28th October 2020.

For us, this is what our work is all about, to ensure that people living with sickle cell disease benefit from the treatment options that are available in most in places like VIC, NSW, SA and QLD. This is just the start and we hope to see a lot more people benefit from this treatment option if they fit the criteria.

We would like to thank Haematologists from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and all the nursing staff who have made this possible. 

After almost 3 years, Western Australia has officially begun Red Cell Exchange Treatment in Western Australia. Previously, this treatment option was surprisingly only not available in Western Australia as it is well established in other states. Currently, there is one patient undergoing Red Cell Exchange Treatment at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth. We are so thrilled that this treatment is now available for people living with Sickle Cell Disease in Western Australia and hope that over time, more people will be able to benefit from this treatment, providing that they fit the criteria. Following the commencement of this treatment, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital held a Training Day for Nurses from all Major Hospitals in Perth. This is an extract of the feedback from the Clinical Nurse Manager who organised this training  The Nurses’ talk was really well received and it sparked a great debate among the sites as to their own programs in Perth and how we manage that in the future , so really positive and great that the topic is now at the front of the apheresis users minds now. Both royal Perth and Fiona Stanley Hospitals have no real experience in preventative exchanging and we also discussed depletion exchanges to reduce iron levels too and we will carry that forward”. 
Everyone at Australian Sickle Cell Advocacy Inc is thrilled that this treatment option is finally available to people living with sickle cell disease in Western Australia. For more information about this treatment if you live in Western Australia, you can get in touch with us and we will connect you with the right clinicians doing this treatment in Perth