Definition

Immunoglobulins are special proteins in the blood. They fight infections. Some white blood cells make them. They are also known as antibodies. They are part of the immune system. With immunoglobulin therapy (IVIg), these proteins are donated from a healthy person. They are then given to you through an IV.

Immune System

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Reasons for Procedure

IVIg is used to treat problems with the immune system. This can be from:

  • The body attacking its own healthy cells
  • Having repeated infections because the body can't fight them
  • Inflammatory or other diseases that make the immune system weak

IVIg can also lower inflammation in the body. This makes the immune system work better.

Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems such as:

  • Headache
  • Infection
  • Fluid in the lungs
  • Kidney damage
  • Blood clots
  • A reaction to the IVIg

What to Expect

You don't need to do anything special. The solution is tested for viruses, diseases, or infections.

Concentrated immunoglobulin antibodies will be collected from a healthy person. They are added to a germ-free solution.

An IV needle will be placed into a vein in your arm. The solution is in a bag. It hangs above and next to you. It then drains through a tube and into the vein.

About 5-6 hours

There may be a slight sting when the IV is placed.

The site where the IV was put in may become irritated. You should check with your doctor if this happens.

You may start to feel better in 1 to 2 days. For some people, it can take up to 3 to 4 weeks.

IVIg is done in cycles. How many times you need it depends on what types of problems you have.

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if any of these occur:

  • Wheezing
  • Breathing problems
  • Not understanding what is going on around you
  • Speaking problems
  • Fast heartbeat—tachycardia
  • Blue tint to the skin, lips, or fingernails
  • Lightheadedness or feeling faint
  • Hives, rash, or itching
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or belly cramps
  • Cough or nasal congestion
  • Reddened skin

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.