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Cardiolipin Antibodies Blood Test

Last updated Sept. 14, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

The Cardiolipin Antibodies Blood Test is a test to detect the presence of cardiolipin antibodies in blood. It is used to diagnose antiphospholipid antibody syndrome.

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

  • aCL Antibodies Blood Test
  • Anticardiolipin Antibodies Blood Test 

What is Cardiolipin Antibodies Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Cardiolipin antibodies are bodily defense proteins that mistakenly target host phospholipids. They are one of the several antiphospholipid antibodies, responsible for causing antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)
  • Phospholipids are a type of fat molecules comprising the membranes of cells. They serve crucial roles in cell signaling, transport, adhesion, and other functions
  • Cardiolipin antibodies target the phospholipids of bodily tissues. This occurs mostly in the inner lining of blood vessels, involving cells, called endothelial cells
  • When cardiolipin antibodies recognize the phospholipids of endothelial cells along the inside of blood vessels, they attach to them. The resulting coagulated mass disrupts the intricate balance, between the pro-coagulating and anti-coagulating factors present in blood
  • Consequently, cardiolipin antibodies increase the likelihood of a blood clot forming inside blood vessels. This extremely dangerous condition is known as thrombosis
  • A thrombotic blood clot is dangerous, because it impedes the flow of blood. Instead of the flow being smooth and “laminar,” it becomes turbid. This diminishes the blood’s capacity to transport vital nutrients, through the body and remove wastes
  • More importantly, the thrombotic blood clots can detach themselves and result in an embolus. An embolus is a freely floating blood clot, capable of lodging into vital blood vessels and blocking blood flow
  • Tissues deprived of oxygen have a limited capacity to function; in the case of the heart and lungs, the results can be deadly
  • The Cardiolipin Antibodies Blood Test is a test to detect the presence of cardiolipin antibodies in blood. It is used to diagnose antiphospholipid antibody syndrome

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Cardiolipin Antibodies Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the Cardiolipin Antibodies Blood Test:

  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Chest pain and tightness
  • Dizziness
  • Jaw pain
  • Paleness
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Leg pain, swelling, or discoloration 

How is the Specimen Collected for Cardiolipin Antibodies Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Cardiolipin Antibodies Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process: Insertion of a needle into an arm vein.

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

What is the Significance of the Cardiolipin Antibodies Blood Test Result?

The significance of Cardiolipin Antibodies Blood Test is explained:

  • Increased levels of cardiolipin antibodies may indicate:
    • Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome
    • Chorea
    • Epilepsy
    • Mitral valve endocarditis
    • Placental infarction
    • Recurrent venous and arterial thromboses 

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 may interfere with the results of the Cardiolipin Antibodies Blood Test. These include infections, certain cancers, and old age 

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, 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.

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Oct. 1, 2014
Last updated: Sept. 14, 2018