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What is an Antithyroglobulin Antibody test? 
Thyroid gland is located in the neck region of human body. It produces various hormones to control body metabolism. Thyroid gland also produces proteins such as thyroglobulin, which play key roles in the biosynthesis and storage of thyroid hormones.
In some autoimmune diseases, the immune system of a person attacks the thyroid gland with different types of antibodies.
Antithyroglobulin antibodies are present in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. These antibodies destroy thyroid cells causing hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels).
An antithyroglobulin antibody test is performed specifically to measure the antibodies against thyroglobulin.

  1. Why is an Antithyroglobulin Antibody Test Performed?
  2. How do you prepare for an Antithyroglobulin Antibody test?
  3. How is an Antithyroglobulin Antibody test performed?
  4. What do Antithyroglobulin Antibody test results indicate?

This test is performed to determine the level of antithyroglobulin antibodies in blood.
It is generally recommended to individuals who complain of the following symptoms:

This test is also likely to be performed if the individual has developed goitre (caused by the enlargement of thyroid gland) or due to the presence of other autoimmune disorders, such as Graves’ disease or Hashimoto thyroiditis.    

An antithyroglobulin antibody test is performed by collecting a blood sample. The doctor may ask for the following prior preparations: 

  • Avoid eating or drinking anything several hours before the blood sample is taken
  • Intake of medications, such as blood thinners is usually suggested to be stopped before the test as these may interfere with test results. However, it is best to discuss with the doctor instead of stopping the consumption of any routine medication on your own  

For this test, a blood sample will be drawn from a vein of the arm using a needle and collected into a sterile container or vial. You may feel a slight pricking sensation as the needle goes into the vein along with a throbbing sensation and bruising on the needle insertion site; however, none of these symptoms lasts for long.

Normal results: If no antithyroglobulin antibodies are detected, the results are considered negative and normal. It is also important to note that the normal values may vary slightly among laboratories. However, the meaning conveyed to the individual will be the same. 

Abnormal results: If antithyroglobulin antibodies are detected, it indicates a positive or abnormal result. Presence of antithyroglobulin antibodies in the blood may be attributed to the following conditions:

In some cases, individuals may show the presence of antithyroglobulin antibodies in their blood without any serious complications. If the test results are positive and there is an absence of a specific cause, then the doctor may monitor the individual for any emerging health problems.
It is also important to note that women who are pregnant or have a family history of autoimmune thyroiditis may show positive results.
Nevertheless, the results must be discussed with a doctor for better clarification. The follow-up steps will be dependent upon test results and the diagnosis. Additional tests may be performed to determine and confirm the exact cause. 

Disclaimer: All results must be clinically correlated with the patient’s complaints to make a complete and accurate diagnosis. The above information is provided from a purely educational perspective and is in no way a substitute for medical advice from a qualified doctor. 

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References

  1. The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons (AAES).[Internet]. American Board of Surgery of the United States. U.S Background: Thyroid tests
  2. UCSF health. [Internet] University of California.Antithyroglobulin Antibody
  3. Pennstate Hershey. [Internet] Milton S Hershey Medical Center, U.S. Thyroid function tests
  4. Henry Kronenberg. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016, Chapter 11
  5. Barbara et al. Endocrinology, Adult and Pediatric Journal of Surgical Research, March 2011, Volume 166, Issue 1