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Abstract

Objective

To verify the occurrence of learning disabilities (LDs) in the offspring of women with primary antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) as a consequence of fetal exposure to maternal antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL), and to evaluate the impact of maternal chronic disease on children's development.

Methods

We studied 17 children of mothers with primary APS using a standardized intelligence test (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Revised), a specific LD battery of tests (Sartori, MT groups' test for reading ability, MT groups' test for math skills), and a questionnaire on behavioral and social characteristics (Child Behavior Checklist [CBCL]). Mothers were interviewed about their pregnancy and motherhood experience.

Results

All children had a normal intelligence level (full-scale intelligence quotient >85); 15 pregnancies occurred in mothers with IgG aPL. LDs were diagnosed in 4 children (26.7%), 2 boys and 2 girls. One of these children was born premature, with a brother also affected. Four children (26.7%) showed a higher risk to present problems on the CBCL total competence scale and 2 children (13.3%) on the CBCL total behavior scale. Two children were described as hyperactive (1 had an LD). All families had a good socioeconomic status and educational level.

Conclusion

Besides prematurity and genetic and environmental factors, the genesis of LDs may also include in utero exposure to aPL, in agreement with described experimental models and patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Socioeconomic status does not seem to influence the occurrence of LDs. A long-term multidisciplinary followup may improve quality of life in patients with primary APS and their children.