Pediatric Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome Clinical Presentation

Updated: Dec 11, 2018
  • Author: Barry L Myones, MD; Chief Editor: Lawrence K Jung, MD  more...
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Presentation

History

Vasospastic or vaso-occlusive events can occur in any organ system in patients with antiphospholipid antibody (aPL) syndrome (APS); thus, a thorough history should be taken, and an organ-specific review of systems should be performed. A broad spectrum of involvement ranging from rapidly progressive to clinically silent and indolent may be present. [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11]

  • Head, ears, eyes, nose, and throat

    • Blurred or double vision

    • Visual disturbance ("wavy lines,” “flashing lights")

    • Visual loss (field cuts, total vision loss)

  • Cardiorespiratory

    • Chest pain

    • Radiating arm pain

    • Shortness of breath

  • Gastrointestinal

    • Abdominal pain

    • Abdominal distension (bloating)

    • "Abdominal migraine"

    • Emesis

  • Peripheral vascular

    • Leg pain

    • Leg swelling

    • Claudication

    • Digital ulcerations

    • Leg ulcerations

    • Cold-induced finger pain, toe pain, or both

  • Musculoskeletal

    • Bone pain

    • Joint pain

  • Cutaneous

    • Purpuric rashes, petechial rashes, or both

    • Persistent or transient lacy rashes of livedo reticularis

    • Dusky fingers, dusky toes, or both

    • Blanching of fingers, blanching of toes, or both

  • Neurologic and psychiatric

    • Syncope

    • Seizures [38]

    • Headache (migraine)

    • Paresthesias

    • Paralysis

    • Ascending weakness

    • Tremors

    • Abnormal movements

    • Memory loss

    • Problems with concentrating, reading comprehension, calculations (change in school performance)

  • Endocrine - Weakness, fatigue, arthralgia, abdominal pain (Addisonian features)

  • Genitourinary/renal

    • Hematuria

    • Peripheral edema

  • Pregnancy-related history - Not expected to be of frequent concern in the field of pediatrics but may be significant in teenagers

  • Family history

    • A strong family history is more pertinent to most pediatric patients and may assist in identifying patients at risk.

    • Family history may include the following:

      • Frequent miscarriage, premature birth, intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), oligohydramnios, chorea gravidarum, placental infarction, preeclampsia, toxemia of pregnancy, or neonatal thromboembolism

      • Myocardial infarction or stroke in persons younger than 50 years

      • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), phlebitis, or pulmonary embolus

      • Strong family history of migraine, Raynaud phenomenon, or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs)

  • Medication history - Use of oral contraceptives at the time of a clinical event

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Physical

Physical findings are specific to the affected organ and can involve any organ system. [39] Catastrophic antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (CAPS) is a multisystem failure secondary to thrombosis, infarction, or both and has a picture of microangiopathy on histology. [40, 41, 42, 43, 18, 44]

  • Peripheral vascular

    • Point tenderness to palpation of bone or joints (bone infarction), as shown below

      CAPS, Bone Infarction - MRI (High Resolution Proto CAPS, Bone Infarction - MRI (High Resolution Proton Density and STIR images) and Nuclear Bone Scan - Patient with multisystem small vessel coagulopathy (microangiopathy) but no known underlying disease process. MRI shows multiple infarctions in the distal tibia, tarsal bones and metatarsal bones (extensive bone marrow edema and increased T1 with fat saturation signal in the calcaneus bones). Flow and early blood pool images of technetium 99m bone scan show increase in activity in both heel regions with focal areas of decreased activity in the center of each calcaneus.
    • Pain on range of motion of joints without arthritis (avascular necrosis)

    • Limb swelling (DVT)

    • Peripheral edema (DVT, renal vein thrombosis)

    • Decreased capillary refill (arterial thrombosis, vasospasm)

    • Decreased pulses (arterial thrombosis, vasospasm)

    • Decreased perfusion (arterial thrombosis, vasospasm)

    • Gangrene (arterial thrombosis, infarction), as shown below

      A patient with multisystem small vessel coagulopat A patient with multisystem small vessel coagulopathy (microangiopathy) but no known underlying disease process. Extensive involvement of all digits is noted, some with distal infarction and dry gangrene, others healing with residual eschar (and undermining epithelialization), and some with re-epithelialization and scarring. Healed superficial epidermal damage and desquamation is also present.
      A patient with multisystem small vessel coagulopat A patient with multisystem small vessel coagulopathy (microangiopathy) but no known underlying disease process. Eschar is still present on first digit bilaterally. More superficial lesions are shown here, with evolution and healing of lesions on all other toes.
  • Pulmonary - Respiratory distress, tachypnea (pulmonary embolism [PE], pulmonary hypertension) [45]

  • Renal [46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51]

    • Hypertension (renal artery thrombosis, intrarenal vascular lesions)

    • Hematuria (renal vein thrombosis)

    • Acute renal insufficiency (intrarenal vascular lesions), as shown below

      Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome in a patient wi Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome in a patient with positive test results for antiphospholipid antibody and lupus anticoagulant who has systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), World Health Organization (WHO) class IV lupus nephritis, and acute renal failure. Top: Thrombosed kidney vessels (periodic acid-Schiff [PAS], original magnification X40). Bottom: Thrombosed kidney vessels (PAS, original magnification X20). Lumen is filled with eosinophilic fibrin with overlying injured endothelial cells. The authors acknowledge the help of Karen W. Eldin, MD, in preparing this image.
      Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome in a patient wi Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome in a patient with positive test results for antiphospholipid antibody and lupus anticoagulant who has systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), World Health Organization (WHO) class IV lupus nephritis, and acute renal failure. Top: Thrombosed kidney vessel (hematoxylin and eosin [H&E] stain, original magnification X20). Lumen is occluded with fibrin. A perivascular stromal reaction with degenerating inflammatory cells is observed. Bottom: Thrombosed kidney vessel (H&E stain, original magnification X20). Lumen is occluded with fibrin. The authors acknowledge the help of Karen W. Eldin, MD, in preparing this image.
      Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome in a patient wi Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome in a patient with positive test results for antiphospholipid antibody and lupus anticoagulant who has systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), World Health Organization (WHO) class IV lupus nephritis, and acute renal failure. Thrombosed kidney vessel with recanalization (arrows) (Jones stain, original magnification X20). Architectural distortion in the surrounding stroma is observed. The authors acknowledge the help of Karen W. Eldin, MD, in preparing this image.
  • Cardiac [52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57]

    • Insufficiency murmur of aortic, mitral valve (endocarditis)

    • Chest pain, diaphoresis (myocardial infarction)

  • GI

    • Right upper quadrant tenderness, hepatomegaly (Budd-Chiari syndrome, [58] hepatic small vessel thrombosis, hepatic infarction)

    • Abdominal tenderness (mesenteric artery thrombosis)

  • Endocrine - Muscle weakness, progressive stiffening of pelvic and thigh muscles with flexion contractures associated with adrenal insufficiency (adrenal infarction/hemorrhage) [59]

  • Ocular

    • Retinal artery occlusion

    • Retinal vein thrombosis

  • Skin manifestations

    • Livedo reticularis, shown below

      Palmar livedo reticularis associated with antiphos Palmar livedo reticularis associated with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome may range from a lacy, flat, reticulated pattern to a more confluent, nonblanching, slightly raised rash (secondary to extravasation of RBCs and plasma).
      Livedo reticularis of the upper and lower extremit Livedo reticularis of the upper and lower extremities in a 15-year-old adolescent with primary antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. The pattern is lacy, flat, and nonblanching. The purplish hue is from stasis in the small vessel beds.
    • Purpuric lesions, as shown below

      Livedo reticularis of the upper extremities, which Livedo reticularis of the upper extremities, which developed as petechiae in the classic lacy, reticular pattern and evolved as a confluent, nonblanching, slightly raised purpuric rash in the same reticular pattern.
    • Superficial thrombophlebitis

    • Vasospasm (ie, Raynaud phenomenon), as shown below

      Muddy discoloration and mild diffuse swelling of t Muddy discoloration and mild diffuse swelling of the fingers observed as part of the Raynaud phenomenon, which is associated with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. At room temperature, this patient still has decreased capillary refill and cold fingers despite treatment with pentoxifylline. The discoloration extends proximally onto the palms and turns blue-purple when exposed to cold.
    • Splinter hemorrhages (periungual, subungual), as shown below

      Linear splinter hemorrhages are found under the na Linear splinter hemorrhages are found under the nails of fingers and toes. These may be solitary or multiple and appear intermittently.
    • Peripheral infarctions (digital pitting), as below

      Digital infarctions in a patient with systemic lup Digital infarctions in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) and long-standing Raynaud symptoms. Multiple and repeated digital infarctions are depicted, resulting in ulcerations and scarring. Scars and hyperpigmentation are also seen on the palmer aspect of hands and fingers.
    • Skin ulcerations (eg, leg ulcers)

    • Petechiae (associated with thrombocytopenia), as shown below

      Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome in a patient wi Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome in a patient with positive test results for antiphospholipid antibody and lupus anticoagulant who has systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and thrombocytopenia. Livedo reticularis of the upper extremities, which developed as petechiae in the classic lacy, reticular pattern, is observed.
      Livedo reticularis of the upper extremities, which Livedo reticularis of the upper extremities, which developed as petechiae in the classic lacy, reticular pattern and evolved as a confluent, nonblanching, slightly raised purpuric rash in the same reticular pattern.
    • Bruising (associated with thrombocytopenia)

  • Central or peripheral nervous system abnormalities [60, 61, 62, 63]

    • Stroke, cerebrovascular accident (CVA)

    • TIA

    • Paresthesia, polyneuritis, or mononeuritis multiplex (vasovasorum ischemia/infarction)

    • Paralysis, hyperreflexia, weakness (transverse myelitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome)

    • Movement disorders - Choreiform tremors (cerebral, cerebellar, basal ganglia infarction)

    • Multiple sclerosis–like disorder

    • Learning disability

    • Short-term memory loss

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Causes

The causes of antiphospholipid antibody syndrome are unknown (see Pathophysiology).

The association of thrombotic events with preexisting or coincident vascular perturbation is emphasized by the high incidence of antiphospholipid antibody syndrome in patients with the following conditions:

  • Vascular inflammation, vasculitis

    • Autoimmune disease (eg, systemic lupus erythematosus [SLE] [64] , cryoglobulinemia)

    • Infectious processes (eg, hepatitis, parvovirus, syphilis)

  • Malignancy (eg, carcinoma, leukemia)

  • Vascular trauma

    • Postsurgery (eg, cardiac)

    • Trauma (eg, accidental)

  • Drug-induced state (eg, procainamide, phenytoin, hydralazine, chlorpromazine)

  • Hemodialysis-associated condition (increased antiphospholipid antibody antibodies over time on dialysis)

    • Cuprophane membrane exposure

    • Oxidative stress

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