Lupus anticoagulants and anticardiolipin antibodies have been strongly associated with the risk of thrombosis, recurrent fetal loss, thrombocytopenia, and a number of other clinical manifestations that together have been referred to as the antiphospholipid syndrome. Despite growing evidence of the significance of this relationship, the pathogenetic mechanisms involved are largely unknown. Recent data suggest strongly that lupus anticoagulants (LACs) and anticardiolipin antibodies (ACAs) are antibodies to protein-phospholipid complexes rather than to phospholipids, as had originally been thought, and that other protein-phospholipid complexes, not recognized by standard assays for LACs or ACAs, may also exist in patients with the antiphospholipid syndrome. Although very recent experimental data may lead to new therapeutic approaches in this syndrome, at present we can only deal with the thrombotic risk by the use of long-term anticoagulation. This chapter reviews current methods of diagnosis, concepts of pathogenesis, and the basis for an approach to anticoagulation in patients at risk for thrombosis or other manifestations of the antiphospholipid syndrome.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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