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Antiphospholipid Antibodies Definition, Syndrome
Autoantibodies the IMMUNE SYSTEM produces that attack phospholipids, fatty substances in the cell membranes of BLOOD cells and connective tissue cells. Antiphospholipid antibodies interfere with blood clotting (COAGULATION) and are present in a number of AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS that affect connective tissue, such as RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (affecting the joints) and VASCULITIS (affecting the blood vessels).
These antibodies are also present in SYSTEMIC LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS (SLE). Several blood tests can detect and measure the level of antiphospholipid antibodies, reported as a titer. Antiphospholipid antibodies are not normally present.
Positive findings when there are no other autoimmune conditions may indicate a diagnosis of primary antiphospholipid syndrome. The primary effect is increased blood clotting, resulting in conditions such as DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS (DVT), TRANSIENT ISCHEMIC ATTACK (TIA), repeated miscarriage in PREGNANCY, HEART ATTACK, and STROKE.