The antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is a systemic autoimmune disorder characterised by autoantibody production and vascular thrombosis or pregnancy morbidity. Autoantibodies generated against phospholipid and phospholipid-binding proteins often impair phospholipid-dependent clotting assays (lupus anticoagulants). These autoantibodies activate endothelial cells, platelets and biochemical cascades and can exist in autoimmune disorders such as lupus. Consistently positive antibodies may worsen the severity of thrombo-occlusive disease. The most common neurological manifestations of APS include stroke and transient ischaemic attacks due to arterial thromboses. Antiphospholipid antibodies may cause additional neurological impairments through both vascular and immune mechanisms. Antiaggregant or anticoagulant therapies are indicated for APS-related ischaemic strokes. Treatment regimens for asymptomatic antibody-positive patients and those with refractory disease remain controversial. There is scant literature on neurological APS manifestations in paediatric patients. Assessment of traditional cardiovascular and inherited thrombophilia risk factors is essential in patients with APS. Modifiable risk factors and valvular heart disease may worsen thrombotic and cerebrovascular outcomes. Alternative therapies such as statins, anti-malarials, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and thrombin inhibitors warrant further research.
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