Lipoprotein apheresis and PCSK9 inhibitors for severe familial hypercholesterolaemia: Experience from Australia and New Zealand

Michael M. Page, Elif I. Ekinci, John R. Burnett, Amanda J. Hooper, Nicola Reid, Warrick Bishop, Chris M. Florkowski, Russell Scott, Richard C. O'Brien, Gerald F. Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Severe familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) causes premature disability and death due to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and is refractory to standard lipid-lowering therapies. Lipoprotein apheresis (LA) has long been a standard of care for patients with severe FH, but is invasive, expensive and time-consuming for patients and their caregivers. Newer drug therapies, including the proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors, may reduce the need for LA. Materials and methods: We audited the records of 16 patients (eight homozygous, eight heterozygous) treated with LA in Australia and New Zealand, 14 of whom subsequently commenced PCSK9 inhibitor therapy. LA was performed by cascade filtration in all centres. Results: LDL-cholesterol was acutely lowered by 69 ± 7% in patients with homozygous FH and by 72 ± 9% in those with heterozygous FH, representing time-averaged reductions of 36 ± 12% and 34 ± 5%, respectively. LA was well-tolerated, and patients reported comparable quality of life to population and disease-related norms. After commencement of PCSK9 inhibitors, four of seven patients with homozygous FH had meaningful biochemical responses, with a reduction in the frequency of LA permitted in one patient and complete cessation in another. Four of seven patients with heterozygous FH were able to be managed without LA after commencing PCSK9 inhibitors. Conclusion: While PCSK9 inhibitors have reduced the need for LA, some patients with severe FH continue to require LA, and will require it for the foreseeable future. However, emerging therapies, including angiopoetin-like 3 inhibitors, may further reduce the need for LA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-58
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Apheresis
Issue number1
Early online date10 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Lipoprotein apheresis and PCSK9 inhibitors for severe familial hypercholesterolaemia: Experience from Australia and New Zealand'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this