Cardiac disease in the antiphospholipid syndrome: recommendations for treatment. Committee consensus report

Lupus. 2003;12(7):518-23. doi: 10.1191/0961203303lu391oa.


The Committee reviewed cardiac involvement in the antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. The Committee's recommendations are: Valve abnormalities: anticoagulation is recommended for symptomatic patients with valvulopathy. Prophylactic antiplatelet therapy may be appropriate for asymptomatic patients (recommended by 13/17 experts in an independent review). Committee members disagreed whether corticosteroid therapy is helpful, but agree that distinguishing among presumptive valvulitis (valve thickening on echocardiogram), valve deformity and vegetations is important, as treatment implications may differ. Occlusive arterial disease (angina, myocardial infarction): the Committee recommends aggressive treatment of all risk factors for atherosclerosis (hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, smoking) and liberal use of folic acid, B vitamins and cholesterol-lowering drugs (preferably statins). Hydroxychloroquine for cardiac protection in APS patients may be considered. The Committee also recommends warfarin anticoagulation for those who have suffered thrombosis in the absence of atherosclerosis, but recognizes that developing data may support the use of antiplatelet agents instead. Intracardiac thrombi: the Committee recommends intensive warfarin anticoagulation, and consultation with cardiac surgeons when appropriate. Ventricular dysfunction: the Committee has no recommendations on this aspect of cardiac disease. Pulmonary hypertension: the Committee recommends intensive anticoagulation with warfarin and clinical trials of bosentan, epoprostenol and other new agents.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / complications*
  • Heart Diseases / diagnosis
  • Heart Diseases / etiology
  • Heart Diseases / therapy*
  • Heart Valve Diseases / diagnosis
  • Heart Valve Diseases / etiology
  • Heart Valve Diseases / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / etiology
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / therapy
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Myocardial Ischemia / etiology
  • Myocardial Ischemia / therapy
  • Thrombosis / etiology
  • Thrombosis / therapy
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnosis
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / etiology
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / therapy


  • Anticoagulants