Antiphospholipid syndrome and the skin

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1997 Jun;36(6 Pt 1):970-82. doi: 10.1016/s0190-9622(97)80283-6.


The antiphospholipid syndrome is an acquired multisystem disorder of hypercoagulation, which may be primary or secondary to underlying diseases. Serologic markers for the syndrome are the lupus anticoagulant and anticardiolipin antibodies. Clinical features include recurrent thrombotic events (arterial or venous), repeated fetal loss, and thrombocytopenia. Cutaneous manifestations may occur as the first sign of antiphospholipid syndrome. These include livedo reticularis, necrotizing vasculitis, livedoid vasculitis, thrombophlebitis, cutaneous ulceration and necrosis, erythematous macules, purpura, ecchymoses, painful skin nodules, and subungual splinter hemorrhages. Antiphospholipid syndrome may also be associated rarely with anetoderma, discoid lupus erythematosus, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, or disorders that closely resemble Sneddon or Degos syndromes. Noninflammatory vascular thrombosis is the most frequent histopathologic feature observed. Prophylaxis and treatment of thrombosis in patients with antiphospholipid syndrome relies principally on anticoagulant and antiplatelet agents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / complications*
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / therapy
  • Humans
  • Skin Diseases / complications*
  • Thrombosis / complications
  • Thrombosis / therapy