The antiphospholipid syndrome is defined by the presence of autoimmune antiphospholipid antibodies in serum together with venous, arterial or small-vessel thrombosis and/or morbidity with pregnancy. Superior mesenteric vein thrombosis represents a rare complication associated with this syndrome; triggering events such as surgical procedures, drug administration and anticoagulation withdrawal have been reported. We describe a case of superior mesenteric vein thrombosis triggered by blunt abdominal trauma in a 47-year-old man with the primary antiphospholipid syndrome. It confirms a previous report describing a patient suffering from the catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome after a fall. This provides evidence, previously unreported, for the possible role of trauma as a precipitating factor leading to thrombosis, even in cases of 'simple' antiphospholipid syndromes. Our patient required extensive small-bowel resection but could be discharged after complete recovery.