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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Antiphospholipid syndrome

Other Names for this Disease
  • Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome
  • APS
  • Familial antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Hughes syndrome
  • Lupus anticoagulant, familial
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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 is an autoimmune disorder. It is characterized by high levels of multiple different antibodies that are associated with clots in the arteries and veins. Symptoms vary and can include blood clots, miscarriage, rash, chronic headaches, dementia, and seizures. Treatment involves thinning the blood to reduce clotting.[1]
Last updated: 2/13/2009

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.[2][3][4] In these individuals, treatment with intensive anticoagulation (blood thinners), plasma exchange, and corticosteroids appears to be beneficial, although no controlled trials have been performed.[3]

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