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LE cell test
Alternative namesLupus erythematosus test
DefinitionLE (lupus erythematosus) cell test measures the presence of a special cell found mostly in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
How the test is performed
Blood is drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic, and a band or blood pressure cuff is placed around the upper arm to cause the veins below the band to swell.
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 testFor infants and children, the preparation you can provide for this test depends on your child's age, previous experiences, and level of trust. For general information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following:
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 LE cell test is used primarily to diagnose systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Normal ValuesNo presence of LE cells is normal.
What abnormal results meanThe LE cell test is used primarily to diagnose systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). About 50 to 75% of patients with SLE have a positive test. Some patients with rheumatoid arthritis , scleroderma , and drug sensitivities (see drug-induced lupus erythematosus ) also exhibit a positive LE cell test.
What the risks are
The LE cell test is now only rarely performed and mostly has historic significance.
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: 8/4/2003Lisa Christopher, M.D., Division of Rheumatology, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT