Antiphospholipid syndrome is also known as Hughes' Syndrome (named
after the doctor who discovered it - Dr Graham Hughes).
Patients with antiphospholipid antibodies & certain symptoms
are usually diagnosed with Antiphospholipid Syndrome. These patients
have an increased risk of thrombosis (clotting) in veins & arteries.
It can be present in lupus patients & also non-lupus patients.
symptoms of the syndrome are-
Vein Thrombosis (leg, arm or internal organ)
Artery Thrombosis -
Brain - headaches, neurological features
Limb - pain and circulation problems
Heart - chest pain
Other organs - lungs, kidneys
Recurrent abortion or miscarriage (usually in the 2nd or 3rd
Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
Livedo reticularis (lacy, mottled pattern on skin)
Chorea (abnormal motor skills)
the antiphospholipid antibody
The anticardiolipin (ACA) test measures the actual antibody levels.
The three classes of anticardiolipin that are usually tested for
are - IgG, IgM & Iga.
Another test, the lupus anticoagulant is a more complicated test
& is far less reliable.
The drugs commonly used to treat it are aspirin, Warfarin &
Heparin, which help to thin the blood. Aspirin is often given in
small doses (75mgs-100mgs daily), this makes the platelets less
sticky, which helps to prevent a thrombosis.
Warfarin is usually given to patients who have a larger thrombosis.
Warfarin cannot be given to patients who are pregnant, so Heparin
is normally used in these cases.
In some patients, anticoagulant therapy is life-long.