- Top of page
- Epidemiology of thrombosis in PNH
- Why is the risk of thrombosis increased in PNH?
- Prevention and treatment of thrombosis in PNH
- Summary and conclusion
- Disclosure of Conflict of Interests
Summary. Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a rare acquired disease characterized by a clone of blood cells lacking glycosyl phosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins at the cell membrane. Deficiency of the GPI-anchored complement inhibitors CD55 and CD59 on erythrocytes leads to intravascular hemolysis upon complement activation. Apart from hemolysis, another prominent feature is a highly increased risk of thrombosis. Thrombosis in PNH results in high morbidity and mortality. Often, thrombosis occurs at unusual locations, with the Budd–Chiari syndrome being the most frequent manifestation. Primary prophylaxis with vitamin K antagonists reduces the risk but does not completely prevent thrombosis. Eculizumab, a mAb against complement factor C5, effectively reduces intravascular hemolysis and also thrombotic risk. Therefore, eculizumab treatment has dramatically improved the prognosis of PNH. The mechanism of thrombosis in PNH is still unknown, but the highly beneficial effect of eculizumab on thrombotic risk suggests a major role for complement activation. Additionally, a deficiency of GPI-anchored proteins involved in hemostasis may be implicated.