Practice patterns of antiphospholipid syndrome at a tertiary teaching hospital in Lebanon
Practice Guidelines as Topic
The objective of the study was to describe the practice patterns of the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) as compared with consensus guidelines for diagnosis and to determine whether practice patterns correlate with patient demographics and physician specialty. A retrospective medical chart review was conducted at the American University Hospital, in Beirut, Lebanon. All adult and pediatric patients admitted to the hospital between 1 January and 31 December 1998 who underwent either anticardiolipin antibodies (aCL) or lupus anticoagulant (LA) testing were included in the study. Work-up of APS syndrome was compared with: (a) the consensus guidelines for clinical diagnosis; (b) physician specialty; and (c) patient demographics (age, gender, ethnicity, health insurance status). Eighty-seven patients fulfilled at least one clinical criterion for APS; 92% were for work-up of thrombosis and 8% for pregnancy morbidities. Fifty-one percent underwent both aCL and LA. Overall 38% (33) of patients had an abnormal test result, however only 18% (6) underwent retesting, of whom only two satisfied a minimum of 6 weeks between test and retest TheAPS diagnostic work-up was requested by 11 different specialties. Rheumatologists were the most consistent in asking for both tests. APS is seen and diagnosed by a variety of medical specialties. Practice patterns as compared with the latest consensus are sub-optimal, and need to be improved. Interventions to help improve this have been discussed and are being implemented.