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Neurology. 1990 Aug;40(8):1181-9.

Cerebrovascular and neurologic disease associated with antiphospholipid antibodies: 48 cases.

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  • 1Center for Stroke Research, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI 48202-2689.


Lupus anticoagulants and anticardiolipin antibodies are antiphospholipid antibodies (APLAb) with related antigenic specificities and are newly recognized markers for an increased risk of thrombosis. We studied 48 patients who presented with cerebral or visual dysfunction associated with APLAb to help clarify the diagnostic, clinical, laboratory, radiologic, and pathologic features in these patients. Most patients presented with transient cerebral ischemia or cerebral infarction. Recurrent and stereotypic events were frequent. Visual disturbances resulted from amaurosis fugax, retinal arterial or venous occlusion, occipital ischemia, diplopia, and migraine-like disturbances. Three patients presented with severe atypical classic migraine. Recurrent infarcts of brain and eye were significantly associated with the presence of cigarette smoking, hyperlipidemia, and a positive antinuclear antibody. During 44.4 patient-years of prospective follow-up, the combined stroke and systemic thrombotic event rate was 0.27 events per patient-year and was 0.54 events per patient-year if TIA and death were included. Forty (83%) of the patients did not have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Thrombocytopenia was present in 15 (31%) and a false-positive VDRL in 11 (23%) of the patients. Cerebral angiography was normal or revealed large-vessel occlusion or stenosis without changes suggestive of vasculitis. Patients with only transient dysfunction generally had normal radiologic studies, including angiography. Organs and arterial vessels studied pathologically revealed thrombotic occlusive disease without vasculitis. APLAb are strongly associated with an immune-mediated thrombotic tendency, generally in the absence of SLE. Other stroke risk factors may add to the risk of recurrent ischemic events in patients with APLAb.

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