Author(s): Carbone J, Orera M, RodrguezMahou M, RodrguezPrez C, SnchezRamn S
We have performed a prospective study to determine the prevalence of immunological abnormalities and the evolution from primary antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) into systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in women who had had unexplained repeated pregnancy loss (PL) and APS. Of 105 women with abortions or fetal deaths, 33(31%) fulfilled criteria for APS. Among these patients with primary APS, 24% had antinuclear antibodies (ANA), 91% had elevated circulating immune complexes (CIC), 70% had low total haemolytic complement (CH100), 52% had low levels of complement 4 (C4) and 30% had low levels of complement 3 (C3), in a significantly higher prevalence than women whose pregnancies were successful (control group). Through out a 6 y follow-up, 3 (9%) of the patients with APS who had autoimmune related abnormalities when entered into the study developed features of lupus like disease (LLD) or fullblown SLE. Our findings suggest that women with unexplained repeated PL with APS who presented with positive ANA, high levels of CIC, low levels of CH100, C3 and C4, may define a subset of patients exhibiting immunological alterations similar to those of SLE. These parameters may help in the assessment of prognosis in APS patients with PL. Those patients should be carefully surveyed with regard to the development of connective tissue diseases.