The Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome (“SAPL”)

The Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (“SAPL”) is an autoimmune “disease” characterized  clinically by the occurence of blood clots or miscariages  and biologically by the presence of antibodies directed against phospholipids. Phospholipid are constituent of our  cell membranes. By interacting with some membranes, these antibodies will activate coagulation and cause the appearance of blood clots (thrombosis), which can be located in all body’s blood vessels : brain arteries, kidney, heart,…..or veins of the  membranes, neck, liver…..

        Depending on the type and where the vessel is blocked, the symptoms will be different (but the mechanism is the same).

        The “SAPL” can either be, isolated (we talked about Primary  “SAPL”), or associated to an other systemic autoimmune disease, essentially lupus (we talked in this case of associated SAPL).

         In pregnant women, these antibodies can block the vessels of placenta, reduce exchanges the between mother and her child, and cause repeated miscarriages.

         Whereas it is difficult to remove antiphospholipid antibody, it is quite simple to fight against their effects, by giving anticoagulant medication (heparin or vitamin K). These drugs, when they are well taken for a very long time, usually put the patient safe from relapses.

         It is important to know, during lupus, the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies increases the risk of blood clot. In this case, doctors often offer small doses of aspirin for preventive.