[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antiphospholipid (aPL) antibodies found in patients with autoimmune diseases are also detected in those with inflammatory diseases. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of these antibodies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and to evaluate the association of these antibodies with thrombosis and/or other clinical characteristics of this inflammatory disorder. Eighty-four patients with RA and 82 normal controls were studied. Anticardiolipin (aCL), anti-beta(2) glycoprotein I (anti-beta(2)GPI), and antiprothrombin (aPT) antibodies and the lupus anticoagulant (LA) activity were determined. Seven out of 84 (8.3%) patients were positive for aCL, six out of 84 (7.2%) for anti-beta(2)GPI, and six out of 84 (7.2%) for aPT, while in controls the overall prevalence of aPL antibodies was 3.6% (3 out of 82). All patients and controls were LA negative. There was no correlation between the presence of aPL with thrombosis and/or other clinical features of the antiphospholipid syndrome. We found aPL antibodies in 19.1% (16 out of 84) of the patients with rheumatoid arthritis and this prevalence was statistically higher than in normal controls (P<0.003). In this study, the presence of aPL antibodies was not associated with the development of thrombosis and/or thrombocytopenia. Whether the presence of aPL antibodies implies an increased risk for thrombosis and atherosclerosis in these patients should be studied further.