Antiphospholipid Syndrome in Greece: Clinical and Immunological Study and Review of the Literature

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The aim of this paper is to analyze the epidemiologic, clinical, and immunologic characteristics of the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), primary or secondary, in autoimmune patients from Northern Greece. Sixty-seven patients with APS were included (9 men, 13.4%, and 58 women, 86.6%). Fifty-two (77.6%) patients had secondary APS and 15 had primary APS (22.4%). The mean age was 46.0 ±15.4 years and the mean follow-up period was 62.7 ±15.0 months. Medical records were retrospectively analyzed from January 1994 until December 2001, according to a preestablished protocol. Eight patients (11.9%) had arterial thrombosis, 12 (17.9%) had vein thrombosis, 12 (17.9%) had thrombocytopenia, 20 (29.8%) had neurologic disorders, and 51.6% of the women in reproductive age had, at least 2 fetal losses (higher frequency in primary APS). Thirty-six patients (53.7%) had increased levels of both immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM anticardiolipin antibodies (ACA), 19 (28.4%) had IgG ACA only, and 12 (17.7%) had IgM ACA only. Antinuclear antibodies (ANA) were detected in 46 (68.6%) patients, and antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) in 29 (43.3%). All patients were prophylactically treated with aspirin (50-100 mg/day) and low-molecular-weight heparin and/or intravenous immunoglobulins-IVIGs occasionally (pregnant women). The findings of this study are, generally, similar to those described by others. Miscarriages seem to be more frequent in women with primary APS (p<0.05), compared to other studies. Differences between these findings and those described by others concerning epidemiologic, clinical, or immunologic data are discussed.

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