Lipoapheresis Unit

Presentation

This Unit provides assistance to patients with dyslipidaemia, monitoring them from diagnosis to therapy, including multistep cardiovascular staging and genetic counselling.

The therapy is personalised throughout life, through the combination of the various levels, from lifestyle factors to the newest drugs, to ultra-specialist therapy with Lipoprotein Apheresis (LA) using extracorporeal circulation.

Thanks to the activity of this Unit, the Monasterio Foundation is a regional reference centre for the diagnosis and treatment of hereditary dyslipidaemias.

Major milestones

The Lipoapheresis Unit is equipped with the necessary equipment for the specific removal of lipoproteins from the blood, based on the various selective methods currently available (precipitation with heparin, by adsorption on dextran or with antibodies) in order to be able to customise the treatment also according to the patient’s biocompatibility with the apheresis system.

It is one of the first centres dedicated to hereditary dyslipidaemias and treatment with lipoprotein apheresis.

Anecdotes and case studies

The care and research activity is driven by patient needs. The Lipoapheresis service was first organised about 25 years ago to ensure the survival of a paediatric patient. Some of the many anecdotes are told by the patients themselves, organised by the first ad hoc Italian non-profit organisation (A.I.D.E. – Italian Association of Hereditary Dyslipidaemias – www.aide.it)

Characteristics

In the Lipoapheresis Unit:

  • two never-before-described genetic abnormalities have been discovered;
  • 11 cases of ultra-rare forms of genetic dyslipidaemia have been identified;
  • the various cohorts of all forms, both rare and common, of inherited dyslipidaemias (Hypercholesterolaemia, Hypoalphalipoproteinaemia, Hypobetalipoproteinaemia, Familial Hyperchylomicronaemia, Wolman and Tangier Disease, Lipoprotein Glomerulopathy and Hyper Lp(a) with in-depth and multistep cardiovascular staging) are cared for. Early diagnosis and cardiovascular prevention activities are guaranteed to all families of patients with this disease.

Research and scientific activity

The group’s scientific research, still at the forefront, is focused on the role of dyslipidaemias and their therapy on endothelial activity and the cardiovascular system as documented by the most important international journals. In addition, the Unit is engaged in diagnostic and therapeutic innovation.

Medical staff

Michele Emdin

Direttore F.F.

Staff

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