1 Introduction

1 Introduction

This resource has been developed to provide practical information and advice relating to NICE medical technologies guidance on the Spectra Optia Apheresis System for automated red blood cell exchange in patients with sickle cell disease. It is intended to be used by both clinical and non‑clinical staff planning to implement this NICE guidance and start using this technology. It has been developed alongside the NICE resource impact report and template.

The Spectra Optia Apheresis System (Terumo BCT) is an apheresis and cell collection platform that can be used for automated red blood cell exchange, which separates out blood components using continuous flow and centrifugation. See the technology section for more information.

NICE's Adoption and Impact programme worked with NHS organisations to share their learning and experiences of using the Spectra Optia system for automated red blood cell exchange in patients with sickle cell disease. The learning gained from existing users is presented as a series of examples of current practice. They are not presented as best practice but as real‑life examples of how NHS sites have adopted this technology. One contributing organisation estimated that it had saved around £500,000 by offering this service to 8 patients over 4 years. All sites reported significant improvements in patients' quality of life.

The information presented in this resource is intended for the sole purpose of supporting the NHS in adopting, evaluating the impact of adopting or further researching this technology.

The information presented is complementary to the guidance and was not considered by the Medical Technologies Advisory Committee when developing its recommendations.

The benefits of using the Spectra Optia system for automated red blood cell exchange as reported by the NHS staff involved in producing this resource include:

  • no iron loading leading to savings through reduced need for iron chelation and reduced regularity of scans and tests to assess iron levels

  • faster procedure time than manual exchange

  • needed less often, and more effective at controlling sickle cell levels than both manual exchange and top‑up transfusion

  • reduced admission rates in patients having automated exchange for recurrent painful crisis

  • high levels of reported patient satisfaction associated with better management of symptoms. This includes better quality of life for carers.


This page was last updated: 02 March 2016