Leukapheresis Procedure

You and your physician have decided that a treatment with Provenge® is advisable.

The Blood Connection partners with Dendreon as a collection center at our Spartanburg, South Carolina location. The first step in Provenge prostate cancer treatment is collecting blood components used to perform leukapheresis.

Here’s what to expect:

Pre-Procedure Visit

We ask that you come in for a pre-procedure visit approximately one week prior to your first appointment.

During your pre-procedure visit, we will take your vital signs and conduct a vein assessment to determine if your veins will accommodate the procedure.  If your veins will not accommodate the procedure, we will refer you to your physician for placement of a temporary central venous catheter. Please make every effort to schedule this visit.  It is an important first step toward ensuring a successful procedure for you.

Prior to your Leukapheresis Procedure please remember to:

  • Drink plenty of caffeine free fluids for several days leading up to each of your leukapheresis procedures.  On the day prior to your procedure, please do not drink beverages containing caffeine.
  • Eat a “hearty” meal prior to your procedure.
    • Wear clothing as described inside.
    • Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your appointment.  The collection of your cells for PROVENGE is very time sensitive!
    • Bring a current picture ID. (cannot be expired)

During the Procedure

Unless you have a central venous catheter, your leukapheresis procedure will be dual needle process.  One needle will be placed in each of your arms.  Once the procedure begins, you will not be able to bend your arms. Using a special blood collection system called the COBE Spectra®, your blood will be drawn through one arm and separated into various components. Immune cells needed to make PROVENGE ® (sipuleucel-T) are collected along with small amounts of platelets and red blood cells. The unused blood components are safely returned in the other arm. The entire process may take 3 to 5 hours. You will be scheduled for three collection procedures, each scheduled two weeks apart. During each of your procedures, you can watch TV, watch movies, or listen to music.

Side effects during your procedure may include a tingling sensation and being cold during the donation.  Tingling can be reduced and/or eliminated by eating healthy, extra calcium rich, low fat meals 2-3 days before your procedure. Calcium rich foods include yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, calcium fortified orange juice and green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach. Heated blankets will be provided to ensure you are comfortable during the process. Most people will feel tired after the procedure, so having someone drive you home is recommended.

Wear loose-fitting clothing for your procedure.  Shirts should have sleeves that can be easily rolled up above the elbow.  If your physician has placed a central venous catheter, wear a loose button down shirt to provide access to your shoulder area.  Sweat pants with a stretchy waistband are recommended. Once your procedure begins and until it ends, you will not be able to walk to the restroom (procedure will be 3-5 hours).  Unless you have a venous catheter, you will also not be able to bend your arms. Should you need to urinate during your collection procedure, one of our staff or a member of your family can privately assist you with a urinal in the donor bed.  As a precautionary measure, you may choose to wear a disposable undergarment (such as Depends).

After the Treatment

The blood components we have collected are sent to a Dendreon laboratory for processing. Once this is completed, the treated cells are sent to your physician so they can be returned to you through transfusion.

Location: The Blood Connection – Spartanburg Donation Center

270 North Grove Medical Park Drive, Spartanburg, SC 29303


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