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The Role of the Laboratory in the Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis


Slide 15

August 2011

In summary, the new classification criteria for rheumatoid arthritis has been modified in an attempt to improve the sensitivity for early disease. Certain criteria more associated with advanced disease, such as the presence of nodules and evidence of radiographic changes, have been removed while additional laboratory criteria, including anti-CCP antibodies and inflammatory markers, have been included.

Our data suggest that the anti-CCP antibody test has similar sensitivity to rheumatoid factor, but significantly improved specificity. However, rheumatoid factor is still included in the classification criteria, and may be useful in the small sub-set of patients who are negative for anti-CCP antibodies.

As with all autoantibody markers, the results of the anti-CCP antibody and rheumatoid factor testing must be interpreted in conjunction with other information, including the clinical presentation of the patient and results from imaging and other diagnostic testing.



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