Sjögren's Antibody (SS-A)

The Sjögren's Antibody (SS-A) test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Brief Description: The Sjögren's SS-A Antibody test is a serological (blood) test that detects the presence of SS-A (or Ro) antibodies in the blood. These antibodies are a type of autoantibody, meaning they target the body's own tissues rather than foreign pathogens.

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When and Why a Sjögren's SS-A Antibody Test May Be Ordered

A Sjögren's SS-A Antibody test is typically ordered when a physician suspects that a patient may have Sjögren's syndrome or another autoimmune condition. The presence of these antibodies can be an important indicator of the disease, particularly in those who exhibit common symptoms such as dry eyes and dry mouth. The test can also be ordered in cases where a patient displays symptoms consistent with other connective tissue diseases or when a pregnant woman is at risk of having a baby with neonatal lupus.

What a Sjögren's SS-A Antibody Test Checks For

This test specifically checks for the presence of SS-A antibodies in the bloodstream. Elevated levels of these antibodies suggest an autoimmune response where the body mistakenly attacks its own cells and tissues.

Other Lab Tests Ordered Alongside a Sjögren's SS-A Antibody Test

When a Sjögren's SS-A Antibody test is ordered, it's often part of a broader evaluation of autoimmune disorders. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside it:

  1. Sjögren's SS-B (La) Antibody:

    • Purpose: To detect SS-B antibodies, which are also commonly found in Sjögren's syndrome.
    • Why Is It Ordered: The presence of both SS-A and SS-B antibodies increases the likelihood of Sjögren's syndrome.
  2. Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA) Test:

    • Purpose: To detect antibodies that target the nucleus of cells, a hallmark of autoimmune disorders.
    • Why Is It Ordered: ANA is positive in a significant number of patients with Sjögren's syndrome and other autoimmune diseases.
  3. Rheumatoid Factor (RF):

    • Purpose: To measure the level of RF, an antibody found in autoimmune disorders.
    • Why Is It Ordered: RF is often elevated in Sjögren's syndrome and is also a marker for rheumatoid arthritis.
  4. Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) and C-Reactive Protein (CRP):

    • Purpose: To assess levels of inflammation in the body.
    • Why Is It Ordered: These tests can help evaluate the inflammatory activity associated with Sjögren's syndrome and other autoimmune diseases.
  5. Complete Blood Count (CBC):

    • Purpose: To evaluate overall blood health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To check for anemia and other blood cell abnormalities that can occur with autoimmune disorders.

These tests, when ordered alongside a Sjögren's SS-A Antibody test, provide a comprehensive evaluation for Sjögren's syndrome and related autoimmune disorders. They help in confirming the diagnosis, assessing the extent of the disease, ruling out other conditions with similar presentations, and guiding treatment decisions. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual’s symptoms, clinical history, and physical examination findings.

Conditions or Diseases Requiring a Sjögren's SS-A Antibody Test

The primary condition linked to the SS-A antibody is Sjögren's syndrome, an autoimmune disorder characterized by dry eyes and dry mouth. However, elevated SS-A antibodies can also be seen in other conditions, such as:

  1. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): Another autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues.
  2. Neonatal Lupus: A condition in infants, caused by the passage of autoantibodies from the mother to the baby.

How Health Care Providers Use the Results of a Sjögren's SS-A Antibody Test

Positive results, indicating the presence of SS-A antibodies, can support a diagnosis of Sjögren's syndrome, especially if clinical symptoms align. However, it's crucial to interpret these results in conjunction with other laboratory and clinical findings, as the presence of SS-A antibodies can be seen in other conditions or even in healthy individuals.

Conversely, a negative result can make a diagnosis of Sjögren's syndrome less likely but doesn't entirely rule it out. The results' interpretation is multifaceted, and clinicians will consider the whole clinical picture, including other lab results, physical findings, and the patient's medical history.

Most Common Questions About the Sjögren's Antibody (SS-A) test:

Purpose and Clinical Indications

Why is the Sjögren's SS-A Antibody test performed?

The Sjögren's SS-A Antibody test is primarily utilized to help diagnose Sjögren's syndrome, an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own moisture-producing glands, leading to symptoms like dry eyes and dry mouth. This test detects the presence of SS-A (or Ro) antibodies, which are commonly found in individuals with this syndrome.

Can the Sjögren's SS-A Antibody test be used to diagnose other conditions besides Sjögren's syndrome?

Yes, while the Sjögren's SS-A Antibody test is closely associated with Sjögren's syndrome, elevated levels of SS-A antibodies can also be seen in other autoimmune conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and some cases of rheumatoid arthritis. As a result, a positive test should be interpreted in conjunction with clinical symptoms and other laboratory findings to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.

Interpretation of Results

What does a positive result in the Sjögren's SS-A Antibody test indicate?

A positive result in the Sjögren's SS-A Antibody test indicates the presence of SS-A antibodies in the blood, which suggests an increased likelihood of Sjögren's syndrome. However, it's essential to understand that having these antibodies doesn't guarantee a person has Sjögren's syndrome. It is just one piece of the diagnostic puzzle, and other tests and clinical evaluations are often required to confirm the diagnosis.

If I test negative for SS-A antibodies, does that mean I don't have Sjögren's syndrome?

Not necessarily. While the presence of SS-A antibodies is common in individuals with Sjögren's syndrome, not everyone with the condition will test positive. Some patients with Sjögren's syndrome might have another antibody called SS-B (or La) or may not produce detectable levels of these antibodies at all. Therefore, a negative result doesn't entirely rule out the diagnosis, especially if clinical symptoms suggest otherwise.

Clinical Implications

What are the potential treatment implications of a confirmed Sjögren's syndrome diagnosis following a positive Sjögren's SS-A Antibody test?

If Sjögren's syndrome is confirmed following a positive Sjögren's SS-A Antibody test, a multidisciplinary approach to treatment is usually adopted. Treatment may involve measures to alleviate dryness, such as artificial tears for dry eyes or saliva substitutes for dry mouth. In some cases, immunosuppressive medications might be prescribed to reduce autoimmune activity and inflammation. Regular follow-ups with rheumatologists and other specialists are also important to monitor and manage potential complications and ensure optimal patient care.

Is there any correlation between the levels of SS-A antibodies in the blood and the severity of Sjögren's syndrome?

The levels of SS-A antibodies in the blood don't necessarily correlate directly with the severity of Sjögren's syndrome symptoms. While a higher titer of antibodies might be suggestive of an active autoimmune process, it doesn't provide a precise measure of disease activity or severity. Clinical assessment and monitoring of symptoms are vital in gauging and managing the progression of the disease.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Sjgrens Antibody SSA

Sjogren's Antibody (Ss-A)

*Process times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. The lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

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