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Prospective study of fluctuations of lupus anticoagulant activity and anticardiolipin antibody titre in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
  1. H J Out,
  2. M van Vliet,
  3. P G de Groot,
  4. R H Derksen
  1. Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Utrecht, The Netherlands.


    Fluctuations of lupus anticoagulant activity and anticardiolipin antibody titres were studied in 53 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The median study time was 26 months with a median number of 12 samples. Lupus anticoagulant was measured by the kaolin clotting time (KCT) and dilute Russell viper venom time (dRVVT) assays; anticardiolipin antibodies were assayed by an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Normal and increased KCTs or dRVVTs were seen during follow up in 13 and 12 patients, respectively. IgG anticardiolipin antibodies changed from negative to positive or positive to negative in 26 patients and IgM anticardiolipin antibodies in 16 patients. Disease activity and treatment with prednisone could account for these fluctuations in the kaolin clotting time (KCT) in 7 of 13 patients and in the dRVVT in 2 of 12 patients. Whole group analysis showed that the KCT, dRVVT, and IgM anticardiolipin antibodies were not associated with disease activity, in contrast with IgG anticardiolipin antibodies. During treatment with prednisone normal KCT and dRVVT results were obtained more easily than normal anticardiolipin antibody levels. It is recommended that lupus patients should not be classified as antiphospholipid antibody positive or negative on the basis of only one sample.

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