Current insights in obstetric antiphospholipid syndrome

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is defined as the association of thrombotic events and/or obstetric morbidity in patients persistently positive for antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL). In this review, we will highlight the most important clinical presentations of APS with a focus on the obstetric morbidity, the current management strategies and the outlook for the future.

Recent findings

The use of aspirin and heparin has improved the pregnancy outcome in obstetric APS and approximately 70% of pregnant women with APS have a successful pregnancy outcome. Unfortunately, the current standard of care does not prevent all pregnancy complications as the current treatment fails in 20–30% of APS pregnancies. This therefore highlights the need for alternative treatments to improve obstetrical outcome. Other treatment options are currently explored and retrospective studies show that pravastatin for example is beneficial in women with aPL-related early preeclampsia. Moreover, the immunmodulator hydroxychloroquine may play a beneficial role in the prevention of aPL-related pregnancy complications.

Summary

APS is among the most frequent acquired risk factors for a treatable cause of recurrent pregnancy loss and increases the risk of conditions associated with ischaemic placental dysfunction, such as fetal growth restriction, preeclampsia, premature birth and intrauterine death. Current treatment is mainly based on aspirin and heparin. Studies to inform on alternative treatment options are urgently needed.

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