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Antimyocardial Antibody Blood Test

Last updated May 11, 2019

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

The Antimyocardial Antibodies Blood Test detects autoantibodies specific for heart muscle cells. It is used to diagnose autoimmune heart disease.

What are other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • AMA Blood Test
  • Heart Muscle Antibodies Blood Test
  • Myocardial Antibodies Blood Test

What is the Antimyocardial Antibody Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • The heart contracts due to the actions of the heart muscle, or myocardial cells (also called myocardiocytes). Autoimmune disorders involving myocardial cells may interfere with the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body
  • As opposed to the 2 other types of muscle cells - skeletal muscle and smooth muscle cells - myocardial cells are only found in the heart
  • Myocardial cells have higher numbers of mitochondria, cellular powerhouses, relative to the other types of muscle cells. They are also loaded with more sugar and fat to provide energy for performance during peak stresses
  • In rare cases, autoantibodies may form that target the muscle cells of the heart. Antibodies are defense proteins that rid the body of invaders; autoantibodies are antibodies that mistake the body’s own tissues as invaders and cause autoimmune disorders
  • Autoantibody attack of the myocardial cells may damage the heart, which may lead to decreased ability of the heart to circulate blood throughout the body
  • The Antimyocardial Antibodies Blood Test detects autoantibodies specific for heart muscle cells. It is used to diagnose autoimmune heart disease

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Antimyocardial Antibody Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the Antimyocardial Antibody Blood Test:

  • Following up to laboratory findings of heart tissue damage
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Jaw pain
  • Family history of cardiovascular disease

How is the Specimen Collected for the Antimyocardial Antibody Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Antimyocardial Antibody Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process of obtaining blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Antimyocardial Antibody Blood Test Result?

A positive value for the Antimyocardial Antibody Blood Test may indicate autoimmune heart disease. A positive value for the test is associated with:

  • Myocardial infarction
  • Myocarditis
  • Pericarditis
  • Acute rheumatic fever
  • Bacterial infections
  • Chronic rheumatic disease
  • Idiopathic cardiomyopathy
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Endomyocardial fibrosis

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Certain factors interfere with the results of the Antimyocardial Antibody Blood Test. These include cardiac surgery and injury to the upper torso

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

The following DoveMed website links are some useful resources for additional information:



Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:


References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Oct. 31, 2015
Last updated: May 11, 2019