• Anticardiolipin antibodies;
  • lupus anticoagulant;
  • recurrent abortion;
  • fetal death

ABSTRACT: Antiphospholipid antibodies (APAs) may be identified in the laboratory by using either coagulation studies or solid-phase immunologic assays (ELISA; RIA). These methodologies do not necessarily evaluate the same antibody; consequently, it is appropriate to screen a patient's plasma by utilizing both assays. APAs have been associated with a variety of obstetrical complications including recurrent spontaneous abortion, intrauterine fetal death, early onset preeclampsia, deep vein thrombosis, and postpartum serositis syndrome. The Kaolin Clotting Time appears to be the most sensitive coagulation test for identifying the lupus anticoagulant. However, preliminary studies would suggest the presence of anticardiolipin antibodies as detected by solid-phase assays are more sensitive and predictive of the clinical course. Although there are no prospective trials to analyze treatment of patients with APA, preliminary data suggest the use of prednisone in combination with aspirin significantly improves the probability of delivery of a viable infant. In addition, heparin, intravenous gammaglobulin, and exchange plasmapheresis have all been tried with varying degrees of success in individual patients in small series.