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Antiphospholipid Syndrome (aPL)

What is antiphospholipid syndrome (aPL)?

Antiphospholipid syndrome is an autoimmune disease in which the body produces large amounts of antiphospholipid antibodies. Phospholipids are a special type of fat containing phosphate that makes up the outer walls of the body's cells. Antiphospholipid antibodies attack the phospholipids. This causes many different problems including increased blood clotting. Cardiolipin is one type of phospholipid and specific anticardiolipin antibodies may develop.

This disease is about two times more common in women than men. It is generally characterized by the following:

Antiphospholipid syndrome was only defined in recent years and is sometimes called Hughes syndrome, or sticky blood syndrome. The disease may occur along with other autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus).

Antiphospholipid syndrome is often difficult to diagnose, however, blood tests for antibodies including lupus and anticardiolipin may aid in the diagnosis.

How does pregnancy affect antiphospholipid syndrome (aPL)?

It is not clear whether aPL is worsened or unchanged by pregnancy.

How does antiphospholipid syndrome (aPL) affect pregnancy?

This disease can have serious effects in pregnancy, both for the mother and the baby. Risks for several complications are increased in women with aPL, and may include, but are not limited to, the following:

Management of antiphospholipid syndrome (aPL) during pregnancy:

Because of the higher risks for stroke, pregnancy loss, and other complications with aPL, mothers need close monitoring of the disease. More frequent prenatal visits are often needed.

Medication for aPL may need to be changed (type and/or dosage) during pregnancy. Consult your physician for more information.

Testing during pregnancy with aPL may include the following:

Women with aPL can increase their chances for a healthy pregnancy by getting early prenatal care and working with their healthcare providers in the management of their disease.

Click here to view the
Online Resources of High-Risk Pregnancy


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