DOI: 10.1093/rheumatology/kead675 ISSN: 1462-0324

Viewpoint: Provoked thrombosis in antiphospholipid syndrome

Denis Wahl, Vittorio Pengo
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Rheumatology


Unprovoked thrombosis (thrombosis occurring without an established environmental factor favouring the episode) is a classic feature of APS. In the general population, provoked venous thromboembolism (VTE) is clearly defined and has clinical and therapeutic differences compared with unprovoked VTE. Whether provoked VTE in the context of APS may lead to a limited treatment duration is not well established. Therefore, careful clinical and laboratory evaluation is needed to identify patients eligible for a limited duration of anticoagulation treatment after provoked VTE. Given the uncertainties of available data, the risks and benefits of treatment decisions should be clearly explained. Decisions should be shared by both the patient and physician. Cardiovascular risk factors are common in patients with APS with arterial thrombosis. There are insufficient data suggesting that cardiovascular risk factor control would allow the cessation of anticoagulation. In most instances, arterial thrombosis will require prolonged anticoagulants. A careful analysis of clinical characteristics and laboratory evaluation, particularly the aPL antibody profile, is needed to make decisions on a case-by-case basis.

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