UK’s National Health Services Approves Automatic Transfusion Device for Sickle Cell Patients

The United Kingdom’s National Health Services (NHS) approved the Spectra Optia Apheresis System, a new automatic blood transfusion treatment option for patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). The device automatically transfuses red blood cells in the body in as little as three hours and requires patient clinic visits six times per year, compared with the more traditional manual treatments that require more than 24 hours of treatment each month.

The United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) also issued guidance supporting the use of the device in transfusion-dependent SCD patients.

“This new guidance recommends a novel option which is very good news for patients as it makes the red blood cell exchange process faster and less frequent,” said Carole Longson, MBE, director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation.”

The system is said to cut the number of hospital visits for patients with SCD in half and could potentially save the NHS nearly £13 million per year.

Source: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence news release, March 2, 2016.