Antiphospholipid Syndrome

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Catherine Burt Driver, MD
    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.

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What is the treatment for antiphospholipid syndrome during pregnancy?

The treatment of antiphospholipid antibody syndrome during pregnancy typically involves low dose aspirin and low molecular weight heparin (Lovenox). Additionally, intravenous immunoglobulins have been infused, but their effectiveness is not proven.

What is catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome?

Catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome (CAPS) is a variant of antiphospholipid syndrome that is characterized by blockage of many blood vessels throughout the body. As a result of catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome, many organs can be affected, including the skin, lungs, brain, heart, kidneys, and bowels. Catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome is treated with anticoagulation, corticosteroids (cortisone medication), and plasmapheresis (plasma exchange).

Catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome is rare. Catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome is sometimes referred to as Asherson's syndrome after the researcher who described it in the early 1990s.

What is the prognosis of antiphospholipid syndrome?

The prognosis of antiphospholipid syndrome depends on the character and the intensity of its manifestations. Earlier treatment will tend to have better outcomes.

Is it possible to prevent antiphospholipid syndrome?

If a person is already known to have phospholipid antibodies, it is possible to prevent antiphospholipid syndrome with methods that decrease the chances of blood clotting, including aspirin and/or heparin. Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) may have some preventative benefits for selected patients.


John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

Bucciarelli S., et al. "Mortality in the Catastrophic Antiphospholipid Syndrome." Arthritis & Rheumatism (2006): 2568-2576.

Pisetsky, David S., and Peter H Schur. "Diagnosis of the antiphospholipid syndrome." Sept. 17, 2014. <>.

Ruddy, Shaun, eds., et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Co., 2000.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/29/2016

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