Clinical Manifestations and Vascular Events in Patients with Lupus, Anticardiolipin Antibodies and Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Vanessa E. Rodríguez, Esther N. González-Parés, Cynthia Rivera


Background: Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP) and anticardiolipin antibodies (ACL) are two common clinical manifestations in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). RP may lead to digital or limb loss. ACL are associated to thrombotic episodes. It is not yet clear if there is an association between RP and the presence of ACL in patients with SLE. Objectives: To study if the presence of both RP and ACL in patients with SLE may be associated with certain clinical manifestations or thrombotic events compared to SLE patients without RP or ACL. Methods: SLE patients from two lupus clinics were recruited. The patients were divided into 4 groups. Patients with RP and positive ACL (RP+ ACL+), patients with RP but negative ACL (RP+ ACL-), patients with negative RP and positive ACL (RP- ACL+), and patients that were negative for RP and ACL (RP- ACL-) used as the control group. Demographic data, diagnostic criteria, clinical manifestations, history of arterial thrombosis, venous thrombosis and abortions were recorded. A physical examination was done. Anticardiolipin antibodies IgG and IgM were done in the rheumatology laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. Descriptive statistics as well as analysis of variances (ANOVA), and polytomous logistic regression were used. Results: 236 patients with SLE were studied. There was a tendency toward an increase in arterial thrombosis (p-value= 0.094) and venous thrombosis (pvalue=0.067) in the group that were positive for RP and ACL (RP+ ACL+). Although it was not statistical significant, when polytomous logistic regression was used, both arterial and venous thrombosis had an increase in relative risk 3.21 for arterial and 3.11 for venous thrombosis. Abortions were not increased in any of the four groups. Clinical manifestations from SLE did not differ among the four groups. Conclusions: Patients with both RP and ACL seem to be at an increase risk for both arterial and venous thrombotic events, these patients may benefit from an antiplatelet medication to prevent these events to occur.

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