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Autoimmune liver disease panel

An autoimmune liver disease panel is a series of tests that is done when a person is thought to have autoimmune liver disease . An autoimmune liver disease means that the body's immune system attacks the liver.

These tests include:

Sometimes the panel may also include other tests. Often immune protein levels in the blood are also checked.

Alternative Names

Liver disease test panel - autoimmune

How the test is performed

A blood sample is needed. For information on how this is done, see: Venipuncture .

The blood sample is sent to the laboratory for testing.

How to prepare for the test

No special preparation is needed for this test.

How the test will feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the test is performed

In autoimmune disorders, cells from the immune system attack tissues or organs. These disorders are one possible cause of liver disease. The most common autoimmune liver diseases are autoimmune hepatitis and primary biliary cirrhosis .

This group of tests helps your health care provider diagnose liver disease.

Normal Values

Protein levels:

The normal range for protein levels in the blood will change with each laboratory. Please check with your health care provider for the normal ranges in your particular laboratory.

Antibodies:

Negative results on all antibodies are normal.

Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.

What abnormal results mean

Blood tests for autoimmune diseases are not completely accurate. They can have false negative results (you have the disease, but the test is negative) and false positive results (you do not have the disease, but the test is positive).

A weakly positive or low titer positive test for autoimmune disease is often not due to any disease.

A positive test on the panel may be a sign of autoimmune hepatitis or other autoimmune liver disease.

If the test is positive mostly for anti-mitochondrial antibodies, you are likely to have primary biliary cirrhosis.

If the immune proteins are high and albumin is low, you may have liver cirrhosis or chronic active hepatitis.

What the risks are

Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

References

Angulo P, Lindor KD. Primary biliary cirrhosis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 89.

Czaia AJ. Autoimmune hepatitis. In: In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 88.

Hoofnagle JH. Chronic hepatitis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 152.

Updated: 2/4/2011

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.


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