Antiphospholipid syndrome is a type of autoimmune disease that “…is characterized by thrombosis and/or pregnancy complications in the presence of persistent antiphospholipid antibodies…” (Chaturvedi & McCrae, 2017). Thrombosis is where your blood vessels become blocked due to blood clots. The antibodies antiphospholipid syndrome produces attack the phospholipids within your blood. This causes our blood to be much more likely to produce blood clots and result in thrombosis. Antiphospholipid syndrome affects all of the blood in your body so this means that blood clots can form in your brain, heart, and other vital organs. The blood clots formed in the brain result in “Patients commonly [presenting] with transient ischemic attacks and ischemic strokes…” (Man & Sanna, 2022). Transient ischemic attacks are brief stroke-like attacks that resolve faster than an actual stroke while an ischemic stroke is the “…most common type of stroke” (U.K. National Health Service, 2022b). If the blood clots form in the heart they can result in heart attack. In pregnant women antiphospholipid syndrome often results in recurrent miscarriage with “…10-15% of women with recurrent miscarriage [being] diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome” (Di Prima et al., 2011). It is unknown what exactly causes antiphospholipid syndrome to occur, but it is thought that genetic and environmental factors play a role (U.K. National Health Service, 2022a). These factors would include things like if a relative has had antiphospholipid syndrome or if you are already at high risk for blood clots. The root cause of antiphospholipid syndrome cannot be treated as such; we can only treat the symptoms that come from it. The main symptom being the formation of blood clots. We just have to stop that process from happening to prevent many of the detrimental effects antiphospholipid syndrome causes. To do that there are 3 common treatments: long term anticoagulant therapy, warfarin, and low-dose aspirin in conjunction with heparin (Wolgast, 2018). It is to be noted that warfarin is just an oral anticoagulant while heparin is an injection anticoagulant. To effectively show what antiphospholipid syndrome looks like I used cardboard and watercolor paints to model what a leg suffering from thrombosis would look like. For the leg I only modeled below the knee. I used numerous layers of cardboard glued together to form a general outline of what a leg would look like and then glued paper onto the cardboard. I then painted the paper to show what a severe case of thrombosis would look like. I tried to make the prominent veins as life-like as possible. As I am not an artist it was very difficult for me to get the leg to look how I wanted it to. I used a slightly fleshy color to paint the leg because I wanted to get across the feel that the leg has a lot of blood built up inside of it. The uneven coloring with some of the white paper showing through was partly intentional as I wanted to mirror how a thrombosis affected leg has a lighter skin tone where there isn’t blood stuck.

Works Cited

Di Prima, F. A. F., Valenti, O., Hyseni, E., Giorgio, E., Faraci, M., Renda, E., De Domenico, R., & Monte, S. (2011, April). Antiphospholipid syndrome during pregnancy: The state of the art. Journal of prenatal medicine. 

U.K. National Health Service. (2022a). Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). NHS choices. 

U.K. National Health Service. (2022b). Ischaemic strokes. NHS choices.,process%20is%20known%20as%20atherosclerosis. 

Man, Y. L., & Sanna, G. (2022, January 11). Neuropsychiatric manifestations of antiphospholipid syndrome-A narrative review. Brain sciences. 

Chaturvedi, S., & McCrae, K. R. (2017, November). Diagnosis and management of the antiphospholipid syndrome. Blood reviews. 

Wolgast, L. R. (2018, September 14). Chapter 108 – Antiphospholipid Syndrome. Transfusion Medicine and Hemostasis (Third Edition).