Extracorporeal photopheresis

How to get an appointment

You can ask your hospital doctor or nurse specialist to refer you.

We'll book your appointment after a consultant reviews your referral.

If you have not received an appointment, please email [email protected].

Changing or cancelling your appointment

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 07562 17102507842 302746 or 020 7188 7188, extension 53867

Before your appointment

Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time.

Drink plenty of water before your appointment.

Please bring:

  • a pair of sunglasses (we'll check them to make sure they have enough protection from UV light rays)
  • sunscreen
  • a bottle of water
  • a list of medicines you take

Please do not:

  • take any anticoagulants on the day of your appointment (you can take them again 6 hours after your second day of ECP)
  • eat any fatty foods for 2 days before your appointment

During your appointment

ECP is performed over 2 days (1 cycle) at intervals of 2 to 4 weeks. The number of cycles you need depends on your condition and your response to the treatment. We'll discuss this with you at your assessment appointment. We review your progress at regular intervals.

When you arrive, you'll sit in a comfortable chair. You'll need to do a blood test on the first day of each cycle. This is to make sure your blood count is fine for treatment and to check your kidney and liver.

Before starting treatment, we'll also take your:

  • blood pressure
  • temperature
  • heart rate

A nurse will connect you to a machine by a drip. Your blood then goes through the machine to remove some of the white blood cells. These are then treated with a drug called psoralen, making them more sensitive to ultraviolet light. The white blood cells are exposed to ultraviolet light to destroy the abnormal immune cells. The treated cells are then added back into your vein.

The treatment usually takes between 2 to 3 hours.

You may feel weak or dizzy during or immediately after the procedure. This is due to a slight drop in blood pressure. This is more common if you have not had enough fluids before the treatment. 

After your appointment

You should wear sunglasses with UV protection when you're outside or under bright lights for 24 hours after the procedure. You should use sunblock (SPF 50) on exposed skin.

Side effects of the treatment can include:

  • bruising and bleeding
  • fever
  • tiredness 

Please contact us if you're unwell before your next appointment.

Last updated: March 2024

Contact us

For more information, please contact us.

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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