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Antithyroid microsomal antibody

Definition

Antithyroid microsomal antibody is a test to measure antithyroid microsomal antibodies in the blood. Microsomes are found inside thyroid cells. The body produces antibodies to microsomes when there has been damage to thyroid cells.

Alternative Names

Thyroid antimicrosomal antibody; Antimicrosomal antibody; Microsomal antibody; Thyroid peroxidase antibody; TPOAb

How the test is performed

Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.

Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.

In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. A bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.

How to prepare for the test

You may be told not to eat or drink for 6 - 8 hours before the test (usually overnight). Your health care provider may monitor or advise you to stop taking medications that affect the results until after the test.

How the test will feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the test is performed

This test is done to confirm the cause of thyroid problems, including Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

The test may also be used to diagnose other autoimmune disorders.

Normal Values

A negative test is normal.

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What abnormal results mean

A positive test may be due to:

Other conditions under which the test may be performed:

High levels of these antibodies have also been linked to an increased risk of:

What the risks are

Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

References

Mecacci F, Parretti E, Cioni R, et al. Thyroid autoimmunity and its association with non-organ-specific antibodies and subclinical alterations of thyroid function in women with a history of pregnancy loss or preeclampsia. J Reprod Immunol. 2000;46(1):39-50.

Ladenson P, Kim M. Thyroid. In: Goldman L and Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders; 2007:chap 244.


Review Date: 4/20/2010
Reviewed By: Ari S. Eckman, MD, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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