JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

[Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome]

R Schmidt, E H Scheuermann, A Viertel, H Geiger, I Scharrer
Medizinische Klinik 1999 February 15, 94 (2): 93-100
10194954

BACKGROUND: Antiphospholipid antibodies comprise a family of auto-antibodies mainly characterized by the presence of the lupus anticoagulant (LA) and anticardiolipin antibodies (ACA). CLINICAL APPEARANCE: The antiphospholipid antibody syndrome is defined by the appearance of frequent thromboses, repeated fetal losses and thrombocytopenia. Other clinical manifestations associated with APA include migraine, chorea, hemolytic anemia, heart valve disease, Budd-Chiari syndrome, perpetual pancreatitic episodes, intestinal infarctions, malignant hypertension, livedo reticularis, pre-eclampsia, fetal growth retardation or catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome. LA and ACA occur in a variety of clinical conditions (secondary antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, SAPS), including other autoimmune disorders, infectious diseases, neoplastic disorders, in association with the use of certain drugs or in otherwise healthy individuals (primary antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, PAPS).

TREATMENT: Patients with thrombosis associated with APA should receive long-term anticoagulation therapy, whereas treatment of asymptomatic patients seems to be not indicated, because only approximately 10% of patients with APA may develop thrombotic complications. In patients with PAPS there is no evidence that the prophylactic administration of immunosuppressive drugs will prevent thromboembolic events.

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