The prognosis for patients suffering from advanced stages of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is poor. Recent studies have shown that immunoadsorption (IA) may represent an effective alternative therapeutic approach for other kinds of autoimmune diseases with circulating autoantibodies. The objective of this pilot study was to ascertain the short-term hemodynamic effects of IA in patients with idiopathic DCM and circulating autoantibodies. Our study included 9 patients with circulating beta1-adrenoreceptor antibodies who suffered from idiopathic DCM as well as severe heart failure (left ventricular ejection fraction <30%). Immunoadsorption was performed on 5 consecutive days using an adsorber against immunoglobulins (Ig Therasorb, Baxter, Unterschleissheim, Germany). Substitution of 0.5 g/kg of polyclonal immunoglobulin took place after the final IA session. During IA, the cardiac index and stroke volume index increased from 2.0+/-0.42 to 2.9+/-0.79 L/min(-1)/m(-2), p < 0.01, and from 24.0+/-7.4 to 35.9+/-10.3 ml/m2, p < 0.05, respectively. In addition to drug therapy, IA may represent a promising alternative therapeutic possibility for hemodynamic stabilization of patients with severe idiopathic DCM.