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Treatment cuts cholesterol from blood

Updated: Tuesday, February 11 2014, 06:45 PM EST

Rochester, N.Y. - Bob Guesno has struggled for years with cholesterol problems that are not due to diet or lack of exercise.

His condition, known as familial hypercholesterolemia leaves him with extraordinarily high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or what is considered harmful cholesterol.

He has had two heart attacks, and despite attempts to control his condition with statin medications, nothing worked well until this past fall. That is when Guesno began a treatment new to the area that filters the LDL cholesterol out of his blood.

“This lowers it quickly and people come back every week or every two weeks so that their cholesterol is lower, but it’s much lower than it would be simply with medications,” said Robert Block, M.D., M.P.H, director of the URMC LDLD Apheresis Program.

Since receiving the weekly treatments, Guesno has begun feeling better.

“After a couple days, after this treatment, I’m able to walk a long distance, jog, things that because of my heart condition I wasn’t able to do before,” said Guesno.

13WHAM News spoke with a representative with UR Medicine at Strong Memorial Hospital about the nonsurgical process used.

They said the nonsurgical technique involves the patient’s blood being filtered into an LDL Apheresis Machine that removes cholesterol from the plasma before returning it to the patient’s body, 

The procedure is not for an average person with high cholesterol, but those with extremely high levels of cholesterol who are not responsive to statins, said Block.

UR Medicine began using the pheresis technology in the Fall.

Treatment cuts cholesterol from blood

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