Lipoprotein-apheresis: Austrian consensus on indication and performance of treatment
The prevalence of familial disorders of lipid metabolism in Europe is higher than believed so far. In severely affected patients in whom conventional combined lipid lowering agents are insufficient to achieve target values, patients being intolerant to all the available members of the statin family as well as in patients with elevated lipoprotein(a) (100 mg/dl) and progression of atherosclerotic vascular disease, despite even normal low-density lipoproteins (LDL)-cholesterol values, lipoprotein-apheresis treatment is indicated. The Austrian Apheresis Consensus compares the inclusion criteria for patients to be treated in Austria with those from Italy, Germany, Spain, Japan, UK and the United States. The cut off level of 100 mg/dl for lipoprotein(a) is higher in Austria as compared to the aforementioned countries (50 or 60 mg/dl, respectively). The available clinical data reveal that regular weekly lipoprotein apheresis not only results in a significant lowering of the respective atherogenic lipid and lipoprotein parameters, but also in a significant decrease in clinical events and interventions. The underlying mechanisms such as non-lipid effects, side effects as well as the different available treatment principles are compared. For patients meeting the inclusion criteria, lipoprotein apheresis is a safe and effective therapy significantly reducing vascular events.