ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test

What is an ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test?

The ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test is a lab test that looks for the presence of antinuclear antibodies in the blood. Antinuclear antibodies are autoantibodies, which are antibodies that attack the body’s own cells and tissues. The presence of ANA can be an indicator of an autoimmune disorder or other immune system problems.

Why is an ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test Performed?

The ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test is most commonly used to diagnose autoimmune disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE. It may also be performed to diagnose other disorders of the immune system. It can also be used to monitor conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis when the test comes back after treatment to help assess if the treatment is working.

What to Expect During an ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test?

The preparation for an ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test is easy. No special instructions or preparation are needed. During the test, a sample of your blood will be taken through a small needle placed in your arm or hand. The sample will be sent to a lab for analysis and the results will be available in a few days.

Types of ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Tests

There are several types of ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Tests available. The most common type is the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test, which is the gold standard for testing for ANA. Other types of ANA tests include the immunoprecipitation assay, the counter immunoelectrophoresis assay, the indirect immunofluorescence assay, the Western Blot assay, and the radioimmunoassay.

Risks of an ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test

The risks of an ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test are minimal. A few risks associated with having blood drawn may include bruising, feeling faint, an infection at the site of the draw, or bleeding. Your healthcare provider can discuss any other risks associated with having a blood draw.

When to Get an ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test

Your healthcare provider will decide when it is time to get an ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test. If you have rheumatic disease, including lupus, an ANA test might be ordered. It can also be ordered if you have a family history of an autoimmune disorder, if you have other signs or symptoms that might indicate an autoimmune disorder, or if you have an infection that is not responding to typical treatments.