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Lupus. 2000;9(6):406-12.

Evaluation of cardiac abnormalities and embolic sources in primary antiphospholipid syndrome by transesophageal echocardiography.

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  • 1Internal Medicine II, L. Sacco Hospital, University of Milan, Italy. mauriziot@fisiopat.sacco.unimi.it



Valvular lesions are frequently present in Primary Antiphospholipid Syndrome (PAPS) patients using transthoracic and/or transesophageal echocardiography. The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence of cardiac abnormalities (valvular thickening and/or regurgitation) or potential embolic sources (spontaneous echocontrast and/or vegetations) in PAPS patients.


Multiplane transesophageal echocardiography was performed consecutively on 40 PAPS PATIENTS: 17 of them with thrombocytopenia, 27 with at least one thromboembolic event (stroke, transient ischaemic attack, arterial and/or venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism) and 14 with recurrent fetal loss.


Cardiac involvement (cardiac abnormalities and/or embolic sources) was present in 33/40 (82%) of PAPS patients. According to aCL titer these lesions were revealed in 17/24 (71%) of patients with aCL < or = 40 GPL-U, while these lesions were present in 100% of patients with aCL > 40 GPL-U. Three patients presented mitral stenosis and 3 non-infective valve masses or vegetations. Embolic sources were found in 4/24 (17%) patients with aCL < or = 40 GPL-U, while they were observed in 6/16 (37%) of patients with titer of aCL > 40 GPL-U (chi2 = 10.03, P < 0.01). Regression analysis showed a positive correlation between mitral valve thickening and aCL antibodies titer (r = 0.5; P < 0.001).


Valvular lesions are commonly found in PAPS patients. Our data showed a significant correlation among aCL titer, mitral leaflets thickening and thromboembolic events.

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