View Full Version : Has anyone heard about the NEW way of testing ANA?
Ethel Mae Potter
09-30-2005, 10:14 AM
I have been ANA positive 1:640 on every test since I was 19 - I am now 45. My labs came back yesterday and my ANA was negative! I asked the doctor how that could be after 25 years of positive ANA test and his answer was "they are doing the test differently, a different method of determining and you are negative" .
I would think if this "new" way of doing the test had mine go from positive to negative, that I would not be the only one- it would be lots and lots of people. I can't find anything about it on the internet.
Can a positive ANA become negative? I also just wonder if there was a lab error- the day I went in they were totally understaffed- maybe this isnt even my blood. I am not going to get it redone, because my disease is stable so there it doesnt make any difference if I am positive or not--
just kind of baffled over this news.
10-01-2005, 08:09 AM
Ethel, I don't know anything about the new test, but my ANA was positve about 2 years ago, and negative last week when tested. The rheumie told me I appeared to be in remission. Funny thing is that my symptoms haven't changed much. I'll search and see what I can find about the new testing metod.
10-02-2005, 03:09 AM
As of yet, I've been unable to find out much about new paramaters for testing ANA. I think I will ask my rheumatologist at my next appointment because I'd really like to know what has changed and why
i do know that the doctors at the lupus clinic in pittsbugh are working on standardized testing for lupus and that when i go on the 10th of oct i too will ask if there are any new tests for ana. i just had mine done with no surprises. until then i'll be very curious about this.
Ethel Mae Potter
10-02-2005, 07:52 PM
It is almost like I felt he was saying that my past tests of positive ANA were mistaken or not really positive, because all these years they were using a faulty method. If this were the case, then I would not even be at a rhuemy because my symptoms are not so bad --but there was so much concern due to the ANA test being so high-- my symptoms could be contributed to other things, but due to the ANA I assumed and my former doctor assumed it was autoimmune causes.
My only symptoms are stiff hands and feet, hand pain and hair loss..and other odd vague pains. I do have fibromyalgia. My ANA was 1:640 anticentromere pattern which indicates CREST syndrome, to which I do not have those specific symptoms. I did only go to the primary care physician about 7 years ago because of excruciating pains in my hands-- it was then she took an ANA test and sent me to a rheumy.
For all I know now if that test was done "wrong" since now there is a "new method" to determine it, then maybe all I have is tynosynovities with male pattern baldness and all this worry has been over nothing.
Even tho the doctor says the ANA positive is meaning less if there is no disease present.
10-08-2005, 06:15 AM
The only thing I found on the change in the ANA test was that it used to be done on animal cells and now it is done on human cells. But this change has not been recent. It changed sometime after the late 1980's.
From the Lupus Book:
For many years, the test for ANA was conducted using animal cells. Human serum was placed over kidney or liver cells of a mouse, rat, or hamster, and if ANA was present, human antibody would attach to the animal cell's nucleus. Fluorescent staining of the antibody bound to animal cell nuclei was used to document these findings. Now, however, testing involves human cells in place of animal cells; as a result, the test more accurately predicts the presence of lupus. As recently as the late 1980's, 10% of lupus patients had false-negative results (in other words, people with Lupus had a negative ANA test) and might have been told they did not have Lupus. The rate of negatives at present is as low as 2%; however, more people now have positive ANA's without evidence of Lupus.
ANA tests are analyzed according to the amount of antibody present and the pattern seen in cells recognized by antibodies in the sample. Although this is a crude measure, the amount of antibody can suggest the degree of seriousness of the disease.
In the scheme of things I don't think the ANA means all that much. It is just a signal that there may be something autoimmune going on, and a patient should be further tested. Diagnosis should include full health history including symptoms. Lab tests are important to differentiate what might be or might not be happening, but should not be used to dismiss a patient's symptoms.
I ASKED MY DOCTORS YESTERDAY ABOUT ANA TESTING AND SHE EXPLAINED THAT THERE ARE A NUMBER OF WAYS THAT ANA CAN BE TESTED. NONE OF THEM ARE ACTUALLY NEW BUT YOU CAN GET A DIFFERANT RESULT FROM A DIFFERANT METHOD. SHE TOLD ME THAT IT DEPENDS ON WHAT LAB YOU DOCTORS USE.
SHE ALSO SAID THAT THERE AT THERE OFFICE ONCE YOU HAVE A POSITIVE ANA THEY REALLY DONT STRESS ABOUT THE FOLLOWING OF THE ANA THEY KEEP TRACK OF THE NUMBER MORE FOR MY BENEFIT AND FOR RESEARCH. THEY ALREADY KNOW I HAVE THE ILLNESS.
HOPE THIS HELPS MAKE YOU FEEL A LITTLE BETTER.
10-16-2005, 11:08 PM
When I went to see my new rheumy last week, she was reviewing my last set of blood tests (from a year ago) and writing up orders for new ones. She didn't order an ANA (first time that's ever happened, in my experience) and she told me that the ANA is just a diagnosis tool, and we already know I have Lupus. :?: Anyone else ever been told this?
Ethel Mae Potter
10-23-2005, 03:25 PM
It IS a diagnostic tool and they use it to tell them something about what is wrong. mY Rhemy says a positive ANA without a disease tells you nothing. I understand all that. My concern is that I was SENT to a rhuemy for 2 reasons: 1. ANA positive test 1:640 (considered a high titer NOT seen this high in False positives) 2. Excruciating hand pain 3. Hair loss.
If my ANA had been negative and I went to a general practitioner about the hair loss and the hand pain, they never would have suspected something autoimmune and sent me to a rhuemy-- so if indeed for the past 20 years the test they were using was wrong, and now they have fixed it, and I DONT have something automimmune going on to explain my symptoms, then maybe I should be at a different type of specialist. Maybe I dont have an autoimmune problem after all, so in my case the ANA test is very significant because it tells us if we are barking up the wrong tree. Maybe it is just Male pattern baldness and hand aches. And i shouldnt be taking all these pills.