The catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome (CAPS) is a lifethreatening disorder characterized by the rapid development of multiple organs/systems thrombosis, in patients with persistently detectable antiphospholipid antibodies. The vascular occlusions predominantly affect small vessels, leading to a disseminated thrombotic microangiopathic syndrome. Most CAPS episodes are related to the presence of a precipitating factor, such as infections and malignant diseases, usually ending up in multiple organ failure. Clinical manifestations may vary according to the extent of the thrombosis, predominantly affecting kidneys, lungs, brain, heart, and skin. Treatment is based on the administration of anticoagulants, corticosteroids, plasma exchange and/or intravenous immunoglobulins. Cyclophosphamide is recommended in CAPS associated with systemic lupus erythematosus. Additionally, rituximab and eculizumab have been used in refractory cases. Overall mortality is still 36.9%, despite recent progress in the therapeutic approach.
To cite this article
Catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome: a narrative review
Beyond Rheumatology 2019;
1 (2): e261
Published online: 20 Dec 2019
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.