Through this presentation, you will learn about the clinical benefits of the first-line screen test for autoimmune diseases. ANA testing by IFA microscopy is a highly sensitive test for detecting up to 150 antibodies and is the gold standard set by the American College of Rheumatology. ANA IFA testing in the correct clinical setting can lead to early diagnosis and treatment of devastating diseases.

ANA IFA uses HEp-2 human tissue culture cells to detect autoantibodies directed against antigens in the cell nucleus and cytoplasm. A fluorescent microscope is used to view fluorescent-labeled ANAs. When results are positive, various fluorescent staining patterns are observed and are reported along with the titer. The patterns are associated with different autoimmune disorders. Higher titers are generally associated with greater likelihood of disease, but do not reflect disease activity.

Advanced testing through a three-tiered algorithm can be an effective way to help make an early diagnosis of the more common rheumatic diseases. Eight case studies are reviewed to educate the physician on how clinical and lab findings can be used to help make an early diagnosis. 

Faculty Information

Martin J. Bergman, MD, FACR, FACP, FCPP

Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine
Drexel University College of Medicine
Philadelphia, PA