Summary Lipid apheresis (extracorporeal lipoprotein elimination) is administered to patients with familial hypercholesterolemia who fail to respond to standard therapy. The nature of the treatment process raises the suspicion that it decreases not only cholesterol but also antioxidants. A group of 12 patients (average age 47617 y, 4 homozygous and 8 heterozygous individuals) with familial hypercholesterolemia treated by LDL-apheresis or rheohaemapheresis for 3–12 y was included in the study. In addition to cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels, vitamin E and vitamin A and also other markers of antioxidant activity were investigated. Nevertheless, the most important determined parameter was the vitamin E/cholesterol ratio in serum and lipoproteins. The results indicate that both extracorporeal elimination methods are effective and suitable ways to treat severe familial hypercholesterolemia, as the LDL fraction of cholesterol decreased by approximately 77% and 66% following LDL-apheresis and rheohaemapheresis, respectively. In addition, the serum vitamin E decreased by 54% and 57% and the decrease of the serum vitamin A was approximately 20%. However, the main marker of antioxidant capacity, vitamin E/cholesterol ratio, in the serum, VLDL and LDL significantly increased. The increase of vitamin E levels in the erythrocyte membranes of 2% following LDL-apheresis and a significant increase of 4% following rheohaemapheresis were confirmed. The presented results indicate that LDL-apheresis and rheohaemapheresis can be considered to be safe procedures according to the antioxidant capacity of the serum, VLDL and LDL lipoprotein fractions and the erythrocyte membrane.