Treatment of refractory familial hypercholesterolemia by low-density lipoprotein apheresis using an automated dextran sulfate cellulose adsorption system
A subgroup of patients with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) respond inadequately to standard diet and drug therapy, and are therefore at high risk for the premature development or progression of coronary artery disease. This study evaluated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and lipoprotein (a) removal in a multicenter, controlled trial with a new LDL apheresis procedure (Liposorber LA-15 System). The study comprised patients with FH who had not responded adequately to diet and maximal drug therapy. There were 54 patients with heterozygous FH (45 randomized to treatment and 9 control subjects) and 10 with homozygous FH (all of whom received LDL apheresis). The study included three 6-week treatment phases and a 4-week rebound phase. Treatments were administered at 7- to 14-day intervals. Mean acute reductions in LDL cholesterol were 76% in heterozygous FH patients and 81% in homozygous ones. Time-averaged levels of LDL cholesterol were reduced 41% (243 to 143 mg/dl) in heterozygous FH patients and 53% (447 to 210 mg/dl) in homozygous ones. The substantial acute reduction of lipoprotein (a) (means: 65%, heterozygous FH; 68%, homozygous FH) has not been reported with other therapies. The Liposorber LA-15 System represents an important therapeutic option in FH patients who respond inadequately to diet and drug therapy.