Antiparietal cell antibody test

Also known as: APCA and Anti-gastric parietal cell antibody

Definition

An antiparietal cell antibody test is a blood test that looks for antibodies against the parietal cells of the stomach. The parietal cells make and release a substance that the body needs to absorb vitamin B12.

How the Test is Performed

A blood sample is needed.

How to Prepare for the Test

No special preparation is necessary.

How the Test will Feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or slight bruising. This soon goes away.

Why the Test is Performed

Your health care provider may use this test to help diagnose pernicious anemia. Pernicious anemia is a decrease in red blood cells that occurs when your intestines cannot properly absorb vitamin B12. Other tests are also used to help with the diagnosis.

Normal Results

A negative result is normal.

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

A positive test result is abnormal. This may be due to:

Risks

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.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight, but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

References

Hogenauer C, Hammer HF. Maldigestion and malabsorption. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 101.

Review date:
July 16, 2014
Reviewed by:
Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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