Procedure, Levels and Results of Cardiolipin Antibodies Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What is Cardiolipin?

Cardiolipin is a substance which is found in the human body when the person is suffering from diseases like syphilis, livedoid vasculitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, antiphospholipid syndrome, and spontaneous abortions. Cardiolipin antibodies are a form of antibodies directed against the mitochondria.

Why Is a Cardiolipin Antibody Test Ordered?

A cardiolipin antibody test is ordered to help determine thrombotic episodes which may be unexplained. If a woman is experiencing recurring miscarriages, then too this test may be ordered. In many cases, the test is ordered along with a PTT and a lupus anticoagulant test to help determine the exact causes of thrombocytopenia. These tests are done together if other clinical findings indicate the possibility of an autoimmune disorder.

Interpretation of Test Results

Sometimes, the test results may be incolclusive but the suspicion of an autoimmune disease still exists, it is then that an IgA cardiolipin antibody test is ordered. In case during the tests, the presence of cardiolipin antibodies is seen, the doctor may require you to take the tests again after six weeks. This is done in order to check whether the presence of these antibodies is temporary or permanent.

If the patient is known to have an autoimmune disorder but the tests come out as negative, the tests are repeated until the presence of the antibodies is recorded.

If the test comes out as negative, it usually means that the class of antibody tested is absent from the cardiolipin antibody serum. There are different classes like the IgG, IgM and the IgA. All these classes are tested differently. Sometimes cardiolipin bodies may also emerge because of an infection or as a side effect of a drug. Since these are the most common of antiphospholipid antibodies, they may also appear asymptomatically upon ageing. If the concentrations of these antibodies are extremely low, there presence may not be considered significant. However, these antibodies must be examined in order to check the cause of the symptoms that the person may be experiencing. These tests are therefore performed in conjunction with the symptoms of the patients.

Levels of Cardiolipin

If the levels of cardiolipin antibodies are moderate or high in a test conducted after six weeks, and thereafter if the antibodies continue to persist, it is an indication of a persistent ailment. In certain rare cases, cardiolipin testing may be recommended to check for the cause of syphilis. This test is always ordered for validation of a positive VDRL or RPR test. Sometimes, if the reagents used in the test are not of the highest quality, the tests may report a false positive. Therefore most doctors recommend a retest after about 6 weeks.