BACKGROUND AND IMPORTANCE: Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is an autoimmune disorder associated with a hypercoagulable state and increased risk of intraoperative and postoperative thrombosis. Few neurosurgical studies have examined the management of these patients, though the standard of care in most other disciplines involves the use of anticoagulation therapy. However, this is associated with risks such as hemorrhage, thrombosis due to warfarin withdrawal, and is not compatible with operative intervention. CLINICAL PRESENTATION: We report the cases of 2 antiphospholipid positive patients who were on anticoagulant therapy and underwent surgical bypasses and received perioperative management with plasmapheresis. The first was a 44-yr-old woman who presented with worsening vision, recurring headaches, and a known left internal carotid artery aneurysm that was unsuccessfully treated twice via extracranial to intracranial (ECIC) bypass at another institution. Preoperative tests at our institution revealed elevated beta 2 glycoprotein 1 IgA autoantibodies. The second case was a 24-yr-old woman with previously diagnosed APS, who presented for surgical evaluation of moyamoya disease after sustaining recurrent left hemispheric strokes. Both cases were managed with perioperative plasmapheresis to avoid the need for anticoagulation during the perioperative period, and both underwent successful ECIC bypass procedures without perioperative ischemic or hemorrhagic complications. CONCLUSION: Management of neurosurgical patients with APS can be a precarious proposition. We describe the successful use of plasmapheresis and antiplatelet therapy to better manage patients undergoing neurosurgical procedures, specifically ECIC bypass, and feel this approach can be considered in future cases.
- Antiphospholipid syndrome