ST. LOUIS - Nearly 71 million American adults have high LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol - of those, less than half get treatment. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of those seeking treatment for high LDL cholesterol increased almost 20 percent from 28.4 percent in 1999-2002 to 48.1 percent in 2005-2008.
Mercy Lipid Center is one of only two sites in Missouri offering LDL aphaeresis, a procedure that dramatically reduces LDL cholesterol 73-83 percent after a single treatment. The option is for patients with high risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) along with very high LDL-c cholesterol that is either unresponsive to or insufficiently responsive to traditional lipid lowering treatment (heart healthy lifestyle and medications).
“This procedure is another option for patients who haven’t been successful at lowering their LDL any other way,” said Dr. Denise Janosik, Mercy Clinic cardiologist and medical director for Mercy Lipid Center. “Without it, these patients are at an increased risk of chest pain, heart attack and stroke.”
Similar to donating plasma, for LDL aphaeresis blood is withdrawn through a venous access, enters a plasma separator and passes through one of two LDL adsorption columns. The columns are coated to selectively bind with plasma removing the bad cholesterol and leaving HDL-c (good cholesterol) unaffected. The LDL-depleted plasma is recombined with the blood cells and returned to the patient. This treatment takes about three hours and is typically repeated every two weeks. During the procedure, patients enjoy a private room with a reclining chair, TV and DVD player.
Insurance coverage varies; preauthorization is done prior to treatment. For more information, please click here or call Mercy Lipid Center in Creve Coeur at 314-251-1363 or Ballwin at 636-256-5220.