Aquapheresis machine.Aquapheresis is a treatment done to remove extra water from the body that is causing problems for one or more organs. First, a soft plastic tube, called a catheter, is placed in one of your child’s large veins. The aquapheresis machine pulls blood through the catheter, takes out the excess water in the blood, and returns the blood back to your child. Occasionally, a special solution may be used to cleanse the blood as it returns to the child in order to remove any “bad” substances, and replace them with “good” substances needed by the body. This is called “modified” aquapheresis.

This therapy may help relieve problems with one or more organs in the body caused by having too much water, or too many “bad” substances. Children may be able to breathe better, or have less stress on their heart once the water is removed.

What to Expect

Once the catheter is placed, a specially trained nurse will begin your child’s treatment, which may last up to six to eight hours.

The nurse will remain with your child for the entire treatment. Your child may need to have this treatment more than once.

The treatment will stop and the catheter is removed when your child’s doctor decides that enough water has been removed.

During this treatment, your child may experience:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Infection in the catheter
  • Bleeding
  • Trouble with the catheter, i.e., not working well and causing a delay in treatment

Special Instructions

  • Help prevent infection by always washing your hands before entering your child’s room and before you leave. Check to make sure everyone does the same − don’t be afraid to remind anyone who comes into your child’s room to wash their hands.
  • Your child will need to rest quietly during this treatment. You may want to have books, videos and quiet activities available for your child. A Child Life specialist can also help with quiet activities for your child.
  • Your child may be on a special diet and have limits on the amount of fluid he or she can drink. Ask the nurse or dietitian to share some tips on how to keep your child comfortable while on limited fluids.