Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is a disorder that manifests clinically as recurrent venous or arterial thrombosis and/or fetal loss. Characteristic laboratory abnormalities in APS include persistently elevated levels of antibodies directed against membrane anionic phospholipids (ie, anticardiolipin [aCL] antibody, antiphosphatidylserine) or their associated plasma proteins, predominantly beta-2 glycoprotein I (apolipoprotein H); or evidence of a circulating anticoagulant.

Multiple terms for APS exist. Unfortunately, some synonyms can be confusing. Lupus anticoagulant (LA) syndrome, for example, is misleading because patients with APS may not necessarily have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and LA is associated with thrombotic rather than hemorrhagic complications. In an attempt to avoid further confusion, APS is currently the preferred term for the clinical syndrome.

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