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, 33 (4), 194-9

[Catastrophic Antiphospholipid Syndrome]

[Article in French]

[Catastrophic Antiphospholipid Syndrome]

[Article in French]
N Costedoat-Chalumeau et al. Rev Med Interne.


The catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome (CAPS) is a life-threatening condition resulting from rapidly progressive widespread thromboses mainly affecting the microvasculature in the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies. Within a few days, the patients develop multiorgan failure with pulmonary distress, renal failure with severe hypertension, cerebral, cardiac, digestive or cutaneous involvement. CAPS develops in less than 1% of patients with antiphospholipid syndrome, either primary or associated with systemic lupus erythematosus. CAPS reveals the antiphospholipid syndrome in about 50% of cases. CAPS may be precipitated by infectious diseases, surgical procedures or discontinuation of anticoagulation. CAPS overall mortality rate has decreased in the past decade and is now around 30%. Within our hospital, it has been reduced to 10%. The main differential diagnoses are other thrombotic microangiopathies, and heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. The treatment of CAPS consists of the empirical association of anticoagulation and corticosteroids, plus plasma exchange or intravenous immunoglobulins. Cyclophosphamide is added in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. The prevention of CAPS is based upon the adequate management of the perioperative period when surgery cannot be avoided, the prompt treatment of infections and the education of patients with antiphospholipid syndrome.

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