Clinical Utility of a Positive ANA

The American Journal of Medicine:


In this retrospective study, more than 90% of patients who were referred to a tertiary rheumatology clinic for a positive ANA test result had no evidence for an ANA-associated rheumatic disease.

No doubt the positive ANA consult is a reason for great frustration for patients, referring physicians, and consulting physicians.

Also interesting:

Of the 232 patients in this cohort, only 91 patients were tested for antithyroid antibodies, and of these, 28 patients (30.8%) had positive test results.

I also see this as a frequent source of a positive ANA in my practice, frequently in patients with known thyroid disease.

And finally:

The most common reason for ANA testing was wide- spread pain. Fifty-four of 232 patients (23%) had ANA testing performed for this chief symptom, none of whom had a rheumatologic disease.

The Hail Mary, check an ANA, just doesn't work.


The Clinical Utility of a Positive Antinuclear Antibody Test Result. Aryeh M. Abeles, Micha Abeles. The American journal of medicine 11 February 2013 (Article in Press DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.09.014)