JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Management of the neurological manifestations of APS—what do the trials tell us?

Robin L Brey
Thrombosis Research 2004, 114 (5): 489-99
15507283

PURPOSE: To systematically review evidence from clinical trials about the management of neurological manifestations of Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS).

METHODS: Articles reporting case-control, cohort and prospective studies and treatment trials of primary or secondary stroke prevention in patients with aPL were identified in an OVID literature search from 1966 to 2004, using the keywords: APS, aPL and cerebrovascular disease. Articles were evaluated according to the standard system for assessing medical evidence to answer the following questions: (1) What is the role of aPL and recurrent stroke risk in both primary and secondary APS populations? (2) What is the evidence to support specific treatment strategies for secondary prevention of aPL-associated stroke? (3) What is the evidence to support specific treatment strategies for primary prevention of aPL-associated stroke?

CONCLUSIONS: (1) aPL are a risk factor for incident stroke (Grade A, established as useful for the given condition in the specified population). (2) The evidence to support the role of aPL in recurrent stroke is conflicting and, therefore, inconclusive. (3) Warfarin at moderate-intensity doses is equally effective in preventing a recurrent thrombotic event as warfarin at high-intensity doses in patients with APS (Grade A evidence, established as useful for the given condition in the specified population). (4) Warfarin, at moderate-intensity doses is as effective as aspirin (at a dose of 325 mg/day) in preventing recurrent thrombotic events in patients who are aPL-positive at the time of an initial stroke (Grade B evidence, probably useful for the given condition in the given population). (5) Currently there are no data to support the use of any prophylactic therapy in patients with aPL and no clinical manifestations for the purposes of preventing an incident stroke.

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