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Hughes’ Syndrome

In 1983, our group described a condition in which there was an increased tendency to blood clotting. Such clots can occur at any time, and can affect veins or arteries anywhere in the body. During pregnancy, clotting of the placenta results in a tendency to miscarriage - some women suffering a dozen or more miscarriages before correct diagnosis and treatment. Features include leg and arm clots (DVTs), headache and migraine (leading in some to stroke), memory loss, chest pain, cold circulation. We initially reported the condition in a group of lupus patients but soon recognised that it could occur in individuals without any evidence of lupus.


Thirty years ago Dr Graham Hughes and his team first reported a condition characterised by a tendancy to blood clotting, including in pregnant women, clotting of the placenta leading to (recurrent) miscarriage.

Initially, the syndrome, characterised by the presence in the blood of a diagnostic antibody, so called “anti-phospholid antibody” (apl) was seen in a proportion of lupus patients, but it was immediately recognised that it could (and most commonly did) exist in the absence of lupus.

We called it the anti-phospholid syndrome (APS) but it is now internationally known by the simpler title ‘Hughes Syndrome’.

With correct diagnosis and anti-clotting treatment, there is often a dramatic improvement. The main features are:

  • Blood clots e.g. deep vein thrombosis
  • Migraine
  • Miscarriages
  • Cold circulation
  • Chest pain
  • TIA and stroke
  • Memory loss

Microscopic photograph of a blood clot.

Microscopic photograph of a blood clot.

Visit the following website for information on the Hughes Syndrome Foundation: