DOI: 10.3390/jcm13010243 ISSN: 2077-0383

Antiphospholipid Antibody Testing: An Audit on Testing Practices in a Public Tertiary Care Center

Eman M. Mansory, Hatem M. Alahwal, Salem M. Bahashwan, Osman Radhwi, Abdullah T. Almohammadi, Yassir Daghistani, Jamil Al-Mughales, Ahmed S. Barefah
  • General Medicine

Background: Antiphospholipid antibodies (aPLs) are antibodies directed against cell membrane components and can be associated with clinical features or be asymptomatic. Testing and interpreting these antibodies is associated with many challenges and pitfalls in clinical practice. Objective: To review all antiphospholipid antibody testing and describe the testing practices, indications for testing and interpretation of results to infer local challenges with aPL testing and subsequently address ways to overcome those challenges. Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of all aPL testing done in a tertiary center between 2014 and 2018. Characteristics of study patients collected through chart review were described using the mean and standard deviation for continuous variables and proportion for categorical variables. Group differences were compared between patients with any aPL-positive result and those with no positive result using chi-square or Fisher’s exact test as appropriate for categorical variables and a simple regression model for numerical variables. Results: Among 414 patients undergoing aPL testing, mainly adult females, 62 (14.9%) patients had at least one positive antibody, of those, 26 (42%) had repeat testing done. Testing was mostly done for obstetric indication (107, 25.8%), with 36 patients having one or two early pregnancy losses <10 weeks as their testing indication. A total of 27 (6.5%) patients were labeled with APS/possible APS based on chart review, but on review of the testing of those patients according to classification criteria, only nine patients satisfied the criteria for APS. Conclusion: This study highlights the clinical challenges associated with aPL testing, including the controversies around indication for testing, the low rates of repeat testing to confirm persistence, and the common misinterpretation of results. Having an aPL testing profile, explicit reference ranges, results commentary, and close interaction between ordering physicians and laboratory staff might be starting points to overcome these challenges.

More from our Archive