What is Antiphospholipid Syndrome?
Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is a rare and chronic autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues and organs. Phospholipids are present on the surface of cells, including blood cells and cells that line blood vessels. In some people, the immune system makes antibodies to proteins that bind to phospholipids. These antiphospholipid antibodies attack the body and may increase the risk of blood clots in veins or arteries, and the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.
Treatment with blood thinners called anticoagulants is used to improve symptoms and to reduce the risk of blood clots and pregnancy loss. However, blood thinners are not fully effective for some people with APS, and do not reduce or eliminate antiphospholipid antibodies. Other treatment approaches that target the immune system are used, such as disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), but they have not been proven effective in high-quality clinical trials in patients with APS.