The catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome in children

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To review the difficult syndrome of catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome, emphasizing new developments in the diagnosis, pathogenesis and treatment.

Recent findings

Few recent publications directly address pediatric catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome (CAPS). Most articles are case reports or are data from adult and pediatric registries. The major factors contributing to most pediatric catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome include infection and the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies, but complement activation also is important in creating diffuse thrombosis in the microcirculation. Treatment of the acute emergency requires anticoagulation, suppression of the hyperinflammatory state and elimination of the triggering infection. Inhibition of complement activation appears to improve outcome in limited studies, and suppression of antiphospholipid antibody formation may be important in long-term management.

Summary

CAPS, an antibody-mediated diffuse thrombotic disease of microvasculature, is rare in childhood but has high mortality (33–50%). It requires prompt recognition and aggressive multimodality treatment, including anticoagulation, anti-inflammatory therapy and elimination of inciting infection and pathogenic autoantibodies.

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