Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) is a life-threatening autoimmune disorder in which immune system mistakenly produces antibodies (antiphospholipid antibodies [aPL]) against certain normal proteins in the blood – causing mainly clots within arteries or veins as well as pregnancy complications, such as miscarriages and stillbirths. Deep vein thrombosis of the legs is the most common type of blood clot to form in the veins, and a stroke is the most common type of blood clot to occur in the arteries. In addition, clots can form in any blood vessel including heart, kidneys, liver, spleen and extremities. Some of the other clinical problems related to aPL include livedo reticularis (lacey purple pattern on skin), heart valve disease, low platelet count, anemia, and kidney disease. Antiphospholipid antibodies can occur in otherwise healthy individuals (Primary aPL/APS) or in patients with autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Antiphospholipid Syndrome is the leading cause of stroke among young people; also a significant percentage of patients with heart attacks, deep vein blood clots, and pregnancy losses have aPL.
The first APS digital book, a collaborative project between Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, USA and Nancy-Lorraine University, Nancy, France, is developed primarily to help medical students better understand the spectrum of aPL-related clinical problems, and receive proper education in the diagnosis and management of APS. However, we hope that this APS book also will increase the awareness of APS among the medical community and patients.