Other Names for Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome


  • Anticardiolipin antibody syndrome, or aCL syndrome
  • Antiphospholipid syndrome
  • aPL syndrome
  • Hughes syndrome
  • Lupus anticoagulant syndrome


Over View & Outlook



Some people have APS antibodies, but don't ever have signs or symptoms of the disorder. Having APS antibodies doesn't mean that you have APS. To be diagnosed with APS, you must have APS antibodies and a history of health problems related to the disorder.

APS can lead to many health problems, such as strokeheart attack, kidney damage, deep vein thrombosis (throm-BO-sis), andpulmonary embolism (PULL-mun-ary EM-bo-lizm).

APS also can cause pregnancy-related problems, such as multiple miscarriages, a miscarriage late in pregnancy, or a premature birth due to eclampsia (ek-LAMP-se-ah). (Eclampsia, which follows preeclampsia, is a serious condition that causes seizures in pregnant women.)

Very rarely, some people who have APS develop many blood clots within weeks or months. This condition is called catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome (CAPS).

People who have APS also are at higher risk for thrombocytopenia (THROM-bo-si-to-PE-ne-ah). This is a condition in which your blood has a lower than normal number of blood cell fragments called platelets (PLATE-lets). Antibodies destroy the platelets, or they’re used up during the clotting process. Mild to serious bleeding can occur with thrombocytopenia.

APS can be fatal. Death may occur as a result of large blood clots or blood clots in the heart, lungs, or brain.


APS can affect people of any age. However, it's more common in women and people who have other autoimmune or rheumatic (ru-MAT-ik) disorders, such as lupus. ("Rheumatic" refers to disorders that affect the joints, bones, or muscles.)

APS has no cure, but medicines can help prevent its complications. Medicines are used to stop blood clots from forming. They also are used to keep existing clots from getting larger. Treatment for APS is long term.

If you have APS and another autoimmune disorder, it's important to control that condition as well. When the other condition is controlled, APS may cause fewer problems.