Role of the clinical immunology laboratory in disease monitoring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Immunological investigations provide useful information to guide diagnosis of several disorders. Many such tests are also commonly repeated at intervals, in an effort to facilitate disease monitoring. In general however, immunology test results are often slow to alter. Furthermore, audit activity has indicated that repeated testing accounts for a substantial workload in many immunology services, which may waste resources and compromise the efficient completion of necessary tests. Consequently, the need and appropriate minimum interval between repeated testing requires critical evaluation. In this review, the clinical utility of repeated performance of several common immunology investigations has been evaluated, based upon published evidence. In some cases (e.g., paraprotein quantification, or measurement of anti-glomerular basement membrane antibodies), repeated testing provides vital clinical information and can be justified on a frequent and individualized basis. However, many other investigations provided by immunology services provide less valuable information when used to aid disease monitoring rather than diagnosis. It is hoped that the data summarized here will facilitate a more evidence-based approach to repeated testing. Such information may also assist with the local implementation of demand management strategies based upon setting of minimum retesting intervals for these investigations.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)18-30
Number of pages13
JournalWorld Journal of Immunology
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2013

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