A role for transoesophageal echocardiography in the early diagnosis of catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome

J Intern Med. 2000 Dec;248(6):519-24. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2796.2000.00762.x.


We describe a previously healthy 28-year-old woman who presented with the clinical picture of large vessel occlusions (stroke with left hemiparesis, myocardial infarction) and developed multi-organ failure (i.e. kidneys, heart, brain, liver, blood, skin) over a very short period of time. Peripheral blood smear was consistent with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Transesophageal echocardiogram was supportive of the diagnosis of catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome (CAPS), revealing Libman-Sacks endocarditis. Blood cultures were negative, anticardiolipin antibodies were highly increased and lupus anticoagulant was positive. Cerebral and coronary angiograms were negative, suggesting possible microthrombotic occlusive disease in the setting of CAPS.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / complications
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / diagnostic imaging*
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnostic imaging
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / etiology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / therapy
  • Multiple Organ Failure / diagnostic imaging
  • Multiple Organ Failure / etiology
  • Multiple Organ Failure / therapy
  • Time Factors