Lupus anticoagulant, concentrations of anticardiolipin antibodies, antithrombin III, plasminogen, (free) protein S, protein C, prothrombin, platelet counts, and bleeding times were determined in 74 lupus patients (58 with systemic lupus erythematosus; 16 with lupus-like disease) to establish the presence of risk factors for thrombosis in these patients. Of the variables evaluated, lupus anticoagulant had the strongest association with a history of thrombosis. Both positive anticardiolipin antibody concentrations and the presence of (mild) thrombocytopenia were significantly associated with a history of thrombosis and the presence of lupus anticoagulant. Reduced concentrations of antithrombin III, plasminogen, (free) protein S, and protein C were found in some patients but were not associated with either thrombosis or lupus anticoagulant. Mean concentrations of total protein S were significantly lower in patients with thrombosis than in those without and in patients with lupus anticoagulant than in those without. The antigenic concentration of prothrombin was reduced in 3/74 (4%) lupus patients. These three patients had lupus anticoagulant but no history of thrombosis, which suggests that a low prothrombin concentration protects patients with lupus anticoagulant from the development of thrombosis. A prolonged bleeding time was associated with the presence of lupus anticoagulant but not with a history of thrombosis. Analysis by stepwise logistic regression did not disclose additional risk factors for thrombosis in lupus patients with lupus anticoagulant. Increased antithrombin III concentrations and decreased free protein S concentrations are often found in lupus patients, unrelated to lupus anticoagulant or thrombosis.
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