For the diagnosis of systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (SARD), patients are screened for anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA). ANA, as assessed by indirect immunofluorescence (IIF), have a poor specificity. This hampers interpretation of positive results in clinical settings with low pretest probability of SARD. We hypothesized that the utility of positive ANA IIF results increases from primary to tertiary care. We retrospectively determined ANA, anti-ENA, and anti-dsDNA antibody prevalence in patient cohorts from primary (n = 1453), secondary (n = 1621), and tertiary (n = 1168) care settings. Results reveal that from primary care to tertiary care, ANA prevalence increases (6.2, 10.8, and 16.0%, resp.). Moreover, in primary care low titres (70% versus 51% and 52% in secondary and tertiary care, resp.) are more frequent and anti-ENA/dsDNA reactivities are less prevalent (21% versus 39% in secondary care). Typically, in tertiary care the prevalence of anti-ENA/dsDNA reactivities (21%) is lower than expected. From this descriptive study we conclude that positive ANA IIF results are more prone to false interpretation in clinical settings with low pretest probabilities for SARD, as in primary care. Whether alternative approaches, that is, immunoadsorption of anti-DFS70 antibodies or implementation of anti-ENA screen assays, perform better, needs to be determined.
- SYSTEMIC AUTOIMMUNE-DISEASES
- HEP-2 CELLS
- INDIRECT IMMUNOFLUORESCENCE
- REVISED CRITERIA
Avery, T. Y., van de Cruys, M., Austen, J., Stals, F., & Damoiseaux, J. G. M. C. (2014). Anti-Nuclear Antibodies in Daily Clinical Practice: Prevalence in Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Care. Journal of Immunology Research, 2014, . https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/401739