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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Antiphospholipid syndrome


Other Names for this Disease
  • Familial antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome
  • Lupus anticoagulant, familial
  • APS
  • Hughes syndrome
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Your Question

Have there been any trials involving plasma exchange to treat antiphospholipid antibody syndrome? Have any benefits or pitfalls been identified?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is antiphospholipid syndrome?

Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is an autoimmune disorder. Signs and symptoms vary, but may include blood clots, miscarriage, rash, chronic headaches, dementia, and seizures.[1] APS occurs when your body's immune system makes antibodies that attack phospholipids. Phospholipids are a type of fat found in all living cells, including blood cells and the lining of blood vessels. Most cases of APS occur in people with no family history of the disorder, however there are rare cases of APS clustering in a family. A widely accepted explanation for APS is that it is caused by a combination of gene mutations (making one more susceptible to APS) and an environmental exposure (such as to a virus). Currently there is not a cure for APS. The goal of treatment is to prevent blood clots from forming and to keep existing clots from getting larger.[2][3][4]
Last updated: 5/25/2016

Have there been any trials involving plasma exchange to treat antiphospholipid antibody syndrome?

As of this writing we have not been able to locate any trials which involve plasma exchange in the treatment of general antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. However, there are reports of the use of this treatment in individuals with catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome, a very rare complication encountered in a subset of patients with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome.[5][6][7] In these individuals, treatment with intensive anticoagulation (blood thinners), plasma exchange, and corticosteroids appears to be beneficial, although no controlled trials have been performed.[6]

You can access additional information about the use of plasma exchange in the treatment of catastrophic antiphospholipid antibody syndrome by visiting Pubmed, a searchable database of medical literature. You can access articles specific to this topic by clicking here.
Last updated: 2/13/2009

References
Other Names for this Disease
  • Familial antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome
  • Lupus anticoagulant, familial
  • APS
  • Hughes syndrome
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.