What are the subtypes of antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)?

Updated: Sep 30, 2018
  • Author: Suneel Movva, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

Multiple terms for APS exist. Unfortunately, some synonyms can be confusing. Lupus anticoagulant (LA) syndrome, for example, is misleading—first, because patients with APS may not necessarily have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and second, because although LAs do have an anticoagulant effect in vitro, LA syndrome manifests clinically with thrombotic rather than hemorrhagic complications. In an attempt to avoid further confusion, APS is currently the preferred term for the clinical syndrome (as described below).

Some patients with APS have no evidence of any definable associated disease, while, in other patients, APS occurs in association with SLE or another rheumatic or autoimmune disorder. Traditionally, these have been referred to as primary or secondary APS, respectively. Currently, however, the preferred terminology is APS with or without associated rheumatic disease. Although antiphospholipid (aPL) antibodies are clinically linked to APS, whether they are involved in the pathogenesis or are an epiphenomenon is unclear. (Up to 5% of healthy individuals are known to have aPL antibodies.)


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!