Antiphospholipid-thrombosis syndromes

Rodger L. Bick, Banu Arun, Eugene P. Frenkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Antiphospholipid antibodies are strongly associated with thrombosis and appear to be the most common of the acquired blood protein defects causing thrombosis. Based upon our experience, ~25% of patients with unexplained venous thrombosis, ~60% of patients with cerebrovascular thrombosis, ~37% of patients with transient ischemic attacks, ~18% with premature coronary artery thrombosis and ~60% of patients with recurrent fetal loss (recurrent miscarriage syndrome) harbor antiphospholipid antibodies. Although the precise mechanism(s) whereby antiphospholipid antibodies alter hemostasis to induce a hypercoagulable state remain unclear, several theories have been advanced. Since the aPTT is unreliable in patients with lupus anticoagulant and is not usually prolonged in patients with anticardiolipin antibodies, definitive tests, ELISA for IgG, IgA and IgM anticardiolipin antibodies and the dilute Russel's viper venom time (followed by cephalin correction for confirmation) for lupus anticoagulant should be immediately ordered when suspecting the antiphospholipid syndrome in individuals with otherwise unexplained thrombotic or thromboembolic events or recurrent fetal loss. However, if one strongly suspects antiphospholipid thrombosis syndrome clinically and assays for lupus anticoagulants and anticardiolipin antibodies are negative, specific assays for all three idiotypes of phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylglycerol are available and should be considered. These may clearly be indicated for difficult diagnostic cases of fetal wastage syndrome, and cerebrovascular events, but their significance in other types of thrombosis, particularly venous, remains unclear at present. Since about 65% of patients with antiphospholipid antibodies will fail warfarin therapy (rethrombose), it is important to define this common defect and institute appropriate antithrombotic therapy for appropriate time periods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-110
Number of pages11
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Dec 1999


  • Anticardiolipin antibody
  • Lupus anticoagulant
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature stroke
  • Thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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