Clinical significance of lupus anticoagulants in children

J Pediatr. 1999 Feb;134(2):199-205. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(99)70416-6.


Objectives: To determine the spectrum of associated clinical manifestations and time course of lupus anticoagulants (LA) in children.

Study design: Retrospective study of 95 consecutive children (46 boys and 47 girls), with a median age of 5.3 years (range, 1.7 to 17.1 years), diagnosed with presence of LA at a hemostasis referral center; 83 were followed up over a median of 2.9 years (range, 6 weeks to 21.6 years).

Results: At diagnosis, 80 of 95 (84%) children were free of symptoms, and presence of LA was found incidentally. Nine children (10%) had bleeding symptoms, 5 (5%) had thrombotic events, and 1 had systemic lupus erythematosus. Among the patients with bleeding, 5 had transient severe hypoprothrombinemia after adenovirus infections, and 3 had thrombocytopenia. None of the children who were initially free of symptoms had bleeding, thrombotic complications, or autoimmune disease subsequently. At follow-up, 48 of 83 (58%) patients had normal activated partial thromboplastin time values after 1.9 years (5 weeks to 19.1 years). Thirty-two (38%) still had activated partial thromboplastin time elevations but did not fulfill all criteria for presence of LA after 3.2 years (7.4 months to 9.3 years). Three (4%) patients, who had presented with thrombosis, had persistent positive LA, anti-cardiolipin, and antinuclear antibodies after 1.4, 2.8, and 7.5 years, respectively. One of these had recurrent thrombosis.

Conclusions: In most children the presence of LA did not lead to clinical complications and was transient. Bleeding occurred with additional hypoprothrombinemia or thrombocytopenia. Thrombosis was rare and strongly associated with persistently positive LA.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autoimmune Diseases / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hemorrhage / blood*
  • Hemostasis
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lupus Coagulation Inhibitor / blood*
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Thrombosis / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Lupus Coagulation Inhibitor