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.
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.
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)