The mechanism underlying the prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) seen in some pediatric patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and opportunistic infections was studied. A circulating inhibitor of coagulation was demonstrated in three patients. The inhibitor appears to be an immunoglobulin that interferes with some of the phospolipid-dependent coagulation reactions of the intrinsic pathway. This "AIDS anticoagulant" does not predispose the patient to clinical bleeding despite its ability to cause a marked prolongation of the APTT. As such, careful laboratory diagnosis of the cause of abnormal coagulation test results is necessary for children with AIDS.

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