Antibody titer is a laboratory test that measures the level of antibodies in a blood sample.
A blood sample is needed. For information on how this is done, see: Venipuncture
No special preparation is necessary for this test.
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.
The antibody level in the blood tells your doctor whether or not you have been exposed to an antigen or something that the body thinks is foreign. The body uses antibodies to attack and remove foreign substances.
In some situations, your health care provider may check your antibody titer to see if you had an infection in the past (for example, chickenpox) or to decide which immunizations you need.
The antibody titer is also used to determine:
Normal values depend on the antibody being tested.
If the test is being done to look for antibodies against your own body tissues, the normal value would be zero or negative. In some cases, a normal level is below a specific number.
If the test is being done to see if a vaccine fully protects you against a disease, then the normal result depends on the specific value for that immunization.
Negative antibody tests can help rule out certain infections.
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
Abnormal results depend on which antibodies are being measured.
Abnormal results may be due to:
Veins 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.
Risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
Titer - antibodies; Serum antibodies
Cooling L, Downs T. Immunohematology. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 35.
Updated by: Stuart I. Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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