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CMV serology test
Alternative namesCMV antibody tests
DefinitionThe CMV serology test determines the presence of antibodies to cytomegalovirus (CMV) in the blood.
How the test is performed
Blood is drawn from a vein on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic, and an elastic band is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and restrict blood flow through the vein. This causes veins below the band to fill with blood.
A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. During the procedure, the band is removed to restore circulation. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
How to prepare for the testThere is no special preparation for the test.
For infants and children:
The preparation you can provide for this test depends on your child's age and experience. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics:
How the test will feelWhen 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 performedThe test is performed to detect current active CMV infection, or past CMV infection in people who are at risk for reactivation of infection. This latter category includes organ transplant recipients and people with a suppressed immune system. The test may also be performed to detect CMV infection in newborns.
Normal ValuesPeople who have never been infected with CMV have no detectable antibodies to CMV.
What abnormal results mean
A specimen with positive antibodies to CMV indicates a current or prior infection with CMV. If the number of antibodies rises over an interval of a few weeks, this may signify the presence of an acute infection.
Chronic CMV infection (where the antibody count stays about the same over time) can become reactivated in a person with a suppressed immune system.
What the risks are
The risks associated with having blood drawn are:
Special considerationsTo detect specific organ system infection with CMV, cultures of the specific organ can be obtained.
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.
Update Date: 1/19/2004Daniel Levy, M.D., Ph.D., Infectious Diseases, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT