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Lupus. 2017 Jan;26(1):88-94. Epub 2016 Aug 9.

Association between antiphospholipid antibodies and arterial thrombosis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

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Division of Rheumatology, St Vincent Hospital, Suwon, Republic of Korea.
Division of Rheumatology, Yeouido St Mary's Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Division of Rheumatology, Seoul St Mary's Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Division of Rheumatology, Yeouido St Mary's Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea



Antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) are present in a proportion of patients with rheumatoid arthritis but their clinical significance remains unclear. We investigated the association between aPL and thrombotic events in rheumatoid arthritis patients.


In this cross-sectional study, aPL profiles were evaluated in 376 rheumatoid arthritis patients in accordance with the standard guidelines. Clinical and radiographic data were retrospectively collected.


aPL were identified in 39 patients (10.4%). Lupus anticoagulant was the most common subtype (n = 25, 6.6%); anti-cardiolipin antibodies and anti-β2 glycoprotein I antibodies were detected in six and 12 patients (1.6% and 3.2%), respectively. Compared to the aPL-negative group, aPL-positive patients included more male patients (41.0% vs. 15.4%, P < 0.001) and more smokers (41.0% vs. 16.0%, P = 0.001). There was no difference between the two groups in age, disease duration and body mass index, or the frequency of diabetes, hypertension or dyslipidaemia. Of note, arterial thromboses were more common in the aPL-positive than the aPL-negative group (12.8% vs. 2.1%, P = 0.004), whereas the frequency of venous thrombosis did not differ between the two groups (0.0% vs. 0.9%, P = 1.000). On multivariate regression analysis, aPL, age, hypertension, dyslipidaemia and baseline C-reactive protein level were independently associated with arterial thrombotic events (all P values < 0.05).


aPL was found in a subset of rheumatoid arthritis patients, who were more often smokers, and aPL was independently associated with development of arterial thrombosis. This result suggests that aPL may contribute to an increased risk of arterial thrombosis in rheumatoid arthritis patients.


Antiphospholipid; rheumatoid arthritis; smoking; thrombosis

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