The mitochondrial antibody test measures the presence of anti-mitochondrial antibodies-antibodies which attack the mitochondria of the cells. When the cells are attacked by such an antibody, the mitochondrial lining is first damaged. Since the mitochondria is the energy storehouse of a cell and is vital in enabling the cells to carry out their functioning in the right manner, it is important for the antibodies to be diagnosed before they destroy the mitochondria.
To check the presence and measure the amount of antibodies present, blood tests are performed. Therefore, for this test, a sample of blood is collected from the patient’s vein. Though there is no elaborate care required for the preparation of this test, the doctor may ask you to stop taking certain medications that you may have been prescribed earlier. Some doctors may also recommend fasting overnight before the test.
The test is not risky or painful. Most people do not feel anything when the needle is inserted into the skin. However, some people might experience slight discomfort. Some people also experience slight throbbing. There is a very small risk of bleeding profusely from the place where the puncture has been made. This is a possibility only with those who have disorders related to clotting of the blood.
The test is usually ordered when you are exhibiting symptoms of liver damage or primary liver cirrhosis. Since liver problems may be because of many different factors, this test also helps the doctors differentiate between cirrhosis due to bile disorders, blockages, alcohol or viral hepatitis.
In a normal test, no antibodies are present. However, if the test results are abnormal, they will show the presence of the mitochondrial M2 antibody. Positive tests indicate cirrhosis of the liver, primary biliary cirrhosis, thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, liver blockage, or autoimmune hepatitis.
The only risks involved in this test are that of puncturing the vein or the artery too deep. If the patient suffers from hemophilia or other similar diseases that cause poor clotting of the blood, the patient may suffer from heavy losses of blood from only a small puncture. If the procedure is not performed correctly, it may cause hematoma, a condition where blood accumulates under the skin. There is also a very slight risk of developing infections when the skin is punctured.
If there is heavy bleeding, you may feel faint or light headed. Taking some amount of rest would help you cope with that.