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Antimyocardial Antibody

Does this test have other names?

AMA, anti-cardiac muscle antibody

What is this test?

This test measures the level of antimyocardial antibodies (AMAs) in your blood. AMAs are a sign of heart damage, and elevated levels are linked to several forms of heart disease. They can be detected in the blood before any symptoms of heart disease develop.

Why do I need this test?

Some people develop AMAs after heart surgery or a heart attack. The presence of these antibodies can be a sign of pericarditis, or inflammation of the membrane around your heart.

You might also have an AMA test done if your doctor suspects that you have rheumatic heart disease, which can develop as a complication of rheumatic fever.

AMAs have also been found in people with diagnosed heart disease, but it's not known how these antibodies affect the disease's progression.

What other tests might I have along with this test?

No other tests are regularly done with the AMA test. But because AMAs can also be found in people with streptococcal infections, your doctor may also want to do a strep screen, which is done by swabbing your throat.

What do my test results mean?

A result for a lab test may be affected by many things, including the method the laboratory uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your health care provider.

A normal test will be negative, meaning you have no or low levels of AMAs.

If your test shows elevated AMA levels, you likely have heart disease or heart damage and more testing is needed.

How is this test done?

The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your arm.

Does this test pose any risks?

Taking a blood sample with a needle carries risks that include bleeding, infection, bruising, or feeling dizzy. When the needle pricks your arm, you may feel a slight stinging sensation or pain. Afterward, the site may be slightly sore.

What might affect my test results?

No outside factors are known to affect the results of this test.

How do I get ready for this test?

You don't need to prepare for this test.

Online Medical Reviewer: Sohrabi, Farrokh, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Stump-Sutliff, Kim, RN, MSN, AOCNS
Last Review Date: 4/22/2012
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