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Cardiolipin Antibody

Does this test have other names?

Cardiolipin antibodies (IgG, IgM, IgA), anticardiolipin 

What is this test?

A cardiolipin antibodies test looks for a certain kind of antibody in your blood. The antibodies are IgG (immunoglobulin G), IgA (immunoglobulin A), and IgM (immunoglobulin M). They are antibodies that form in response to cardiolipins. Cardiolipin is a phospholipid, or a kind of fat in the blood. The levels of these antibodies are often high in people with abnormal blood clotting, autoimmune diseases like lupus, or repeated miscarriages. 

Why do I need this test?

Your healthcare provider may order a cardiolipin antibodies test if you often have abnormal blood clotting or abnormal bleeding. If you have had frequent miscarriages, the test might help doctors figure out why. Also people with some autoimmune diseases such as lupus have cardiolipin antibodies in their blood. This test may be used to help diagnose this disease. When high levels of cardiolipins are found in people with these or other issues, it is known as cardiolipin antibody syndrome. This test helps diagnose this condition. 

What other tests might I have along with this test?

The cardiolipin antibodies test is usually just one of many tests given. The tests you get will depend on what your healthcare provider is looking for. For example, if your doctor thinks you have lupus, you will probably need other blood tests. You will also need imaging tests and tissue biopsies. 

These other tests may include:

  • Complete blood cell count

  • Partial thromboplastin time and activated prothromboplastin time. These tests see how your blood clots.

  • Antinuclear antibody test. These antibodies are found in people with lupus.

  • Antiphospholipid antibody test. These antibodies are found in people with abnormal blood clots.

  • Ultrasound, to look for clots in your arteries or veins

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 healthcare provider.

The results of a cardiolipin antibodies test are easy to understand. If you're negative for cardiolipin antibodies, that is normal. If you're positive, you might have cardiolipin antibody syndrome. You will probably be retested to see if the antibody stays in your blood. You may need to wait as long as 6 weeks between each test period. This is to give accurate results for lupus or cardiolipin antibody syndrome.

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?

Although cardiolipin antibodies are commonly related to lupus, a positive test for them doesn't mean you have lupus. Other tests will be needed to confirm the diagnosis. When you have problems related to blood clotting, miscarriages, or other issues, this test result can help healthcare providers figure out the best way to treat your condition.

How do I get ready for this test?

You don't need to prepare for this test.   

Online Medical Reviewer: Snyder, Mandy, APRN
Online Medical Reviewer: Taylor, Wanda L, RN, PhD
Last Review Date: 7/4/2015
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