Catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome in the intensive care unit

Crit Care Clin. 2002 Oct;18(4):805-17. doi: 10.1016/s0749-0704(02)00026-x.


CAPS is characterized by development of widespread microvascular thrombosis. Patients at risk are those with positive aCL or LA factor. Precipitating events, such as infection, trauma, surgical procedures, or reduction in anticoagulation therapy, may contribute to the development of CAPS. Presentation to the ICU can be dramatic, with progressive multiorgan failure and need for rapid institution of life-supporting measures. Cardiopulmonary failure has been the major contributor to mortality. A variety of therapeutic modalities have been used in an attempt to offset the widespread thrombosis and organ damage from high aCL levels. Anticoagulation therapy and high dosages of steroids seem to have a positive effect on survival.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome* / complications
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome* / physiopathology
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome* / therapy
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Multiple Organ Failure / diagnosis
  • Multiple Organ Failure / physiopathology
  • Multiple Organ Failure / therapy
  • Plasmapheresis
  • Precipitating Factors