1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

What Does It Mean If I'm Positive for Lupus Anticoagulant Antibodies?

By

Updated March 03, 2008

Question: What Does It Mean If I'm Positive for Lupus Anticoagulant Antibodies?

Lupus anticoagulant antibodies are one of the markers for antiphospholipid syndrome, a disorder in which the body creates antibodies against phospholipids (normal components of human blood cells).

Answer:

Lupus anticoagulant and other antiphospholipid antibodies can cause tiny blood clots that can lead to pregnancy complications, including miscarriage. A person will usually have no symptoms of having lupus anticoagulant antibodies but might have recurrent miscarriage and/or blood clots.

Testing for Lupus Anticoagulant Antibodies

Doctors do not test directly for lupus anticoagulants but make the diagnosis based on the results of one or more of the following laboratory tests:

If tests return with abnormal values, your doctor may order followup tests to confirm the abnormalities and be sure that the unusual results were not due to lab contamination or other clotting abnormalities.

Treatment for Women with Lupus Anticoagulant Antibodies

Despite the name, people with lupus anticoagulant antibodies do not necessarily have systemic lupus erythematosus, the disorder commonly known as lupus, although people with that disorder may have lupus anticoagulants. Lupus anticoagulant antibodies may occur in people with numerous types of autoimmune diseases but may also occur in those with no known cause.

If you receive a diagnosis of lupus anticoagulant antibodies (or antiphospholipid syndrome) from an OB/GYN as a part of recurrent miscarriage testing, be sure to ask your doctor whether you might need to follow up with a general practitioner or specialist for monitoring.

For women with a diagnosis of antiphospholipid syndrome resulting from positive lupus anticoagulants, the treatment is usually low-dose or "baby" aspirin and/or heparin injections during pregnancy. This treatment appears to improve the odds of a good pregnancy outcome.

Sources:

American Association for Clinical Chemistry, "Lupus Anticoagulant: At a Glance." LabTestsOnline 23 May 2007. Accessed 25 Feb 2008.

Empson, M., M. Lassere, J. Craig, and J. Scott, "Prevention of recurrent miscarriage for women with antiphospholipid antibody or lupus anticoagulant." Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews 2005. Accessed 20 Feb 2008.

Lupus Anticoagulant Working Party, "Guidelines on testing for the lupus anticoagulant." Journal of Clinical Pathology 1991:885-89. Accessed 25 Feb 2008.

Related Video
Sleep Well During Pregnancy
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Miscarriage / Pregnancy Loss
  4. Recurrent Miscarriages
  5. Testing for Causes
  6. Lupus Anticoagulant Antibodies and Recurrent Miscarriages - Why Doctors Test for Lupus Anticoagulants

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.