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Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS): An Autoimmune Clotting Disorder

Posted Apr 27 2010 12:00am

I became aware of a very detailed description of the Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS), an autoimmune clotting disorder, via a Twitter message with a link to the ARUP Consult (see: Antiphospholipid Syndrome - APS ). I have previously discussed this very useful web site (see: ARUP Offers Lab Algorithms for Disease Diagnosis Support ). I raise the topic of APS here for two reasons. First, to familiarize readers of this blog with the syndrome. Secondly, I want to emphasize how Twitter and the web in general have the capability of familiarizing physicians and healthcare consumers about relatively obscure diseases. Below, copied from ARUP Consult, is a description of APS:

Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is an autoimmune disorder in which autoantibodies are directed against phospholipid-protein complexes. APS is characterized by thrombosis (arterial, venous, or small vessel) and/or pregnancy complications and persistently positive tests for antiphospholipid-protein (aPL) antibodies.

[Following are some salient details about the disease:]

  • aPL antibodies are present in a low percentage of young healthy subjects (1-5%) and up to 10% of patients with venous thrombosis
  • Higher prevalence in patients with autoimmune disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus (up to 50%), malignancy, liver disease, and vascular disease
  • Most patients with aPL antibodies do not have an underlying autoimmune disease
  • Presents clinically as venous, arterial, or small vessel thrombosis, and/or obstetric complications
  • Treatment decisions depend on the extent of clinical symptoms and may range from no treatment to long-term anticoagulation
Refer to the ARUP Consult for the complete description of this disease. I present only a small portion of the information about it. Here also is a clinical summary of the syndrome from eMedicine.
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