Treatment of thrombotic antiphospholipid syndrome in adults and children

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2020 May;32(3):215-227. doi: 10.1097/BOR.0000000000000702.


Purpose of review: Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), more common than once believed, is an autoimmune disease best known for its high risk of incident and recurrent thrombotic events. The approach to treatment potentially differs from treatment of thrombosis in the general population, and this article endeavors to review the latest updates on this topic.

Recent findings: The epidemiology of APS is being increasingly elucidated by large population-based studies, with APS perhaps affecting as many as 1 in 2000 individuals. Vitamin K antagonists, aspirin, and heparinoids continue to have obvious roles in the management of patients with APS. There has recently been intensive study of direct oral anticoagulants in APS, with the most recent randomized studies raising concerns about their inferiority to vitamin K antagonists, at least in some subgroups. Other approaches to treating APS beyond anticoagulants and antiaggregants are also receiving increased attention in mechanistic and preclinical studies with an eye toward future roles in patients with refractory and/or microvascular disease. Pediatric APS is identified as an area in desperate need of additional prospective research.

Summary: Progress continues to be made in pursuit of improving the lives of individuals afflicted with APS. The most important future directions would seem to involve leveraging modern molecular technologies in order to improve subphenotyping of antiphospholipid antibody-positive individuals. This will help personalize risk profiles and ideally define the optimal approach to therapy based on future risk, rather than past morbid events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't