From the age of 17 a young man had recurrent venous thrombosis, with pulmonary embolism on two occasions. Laboratory investigations showed increased DNA binding, thrombocytopenia, positive antinuclear antibodies, and immunoglobulin A deficiency. A plasminogen activator deficiency was suspected because the euglobulin lysis time was considerably prolonged. Variant lupus was diagnosed. He had a severe myocardial infarct at the age of 20 and subsequent investigations showed the presence in serum of the lupus anticoagulant and antibodies to cardiolipin. The presence of these antiphospholipid antibodies explains the features of his illness and establishes that this case fits into a subset of systemic lupus erythematosus characterised by thrombotic events.
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