Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA)
antibody (ANA) test measures the amount and pattern of
antibodies in your blood that work against your own
body (autoimmune reaction).
immune system normally attacks and destroys foreign
substances such as bacteria and viruses. But in disorders known as
autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks and
destroys the body's normal tissues. When a person has an autoimmune disease,
the immune system produces antibodies that attach to the
body's own cells as though they were foreign substances, often causing them to
be damaged or destroyed.
Rheumatoid arthritis and
systemic lupus erythematosus are examples of
An ANA test is used along with your symptoms,
physical examination, and other tests to find an autoimmune disease.
Why It Is Done
An antinuclear antibodies (ANA) test is
done to help identify problems with the immune system, such as:
How To Prepare
You do not need to do anything before
you have this test.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you
have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what
the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
The health professional drawing blood
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to
stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is
easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick
may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is
- Apply a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as
the needle is removed.
- Apply pressure to the site and then a
How It Feels
The blood sample is taken from a vein in
your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight.
You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or
There is very little chance of a
problem from having a blood sample taken from a vein.
- You may get a small bruise at the site. You
can lower the chance of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several
- In rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood
sample is taken. This problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress can be used
several times a day to treat this.
- Ongoing bleeding can be a
problem for people with bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and
other blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have
bleeding or clotting problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell
your doctor before your blood sample is taken.