Testing for antinuclear antibodies is useful for the diagnosis of systemic rheumatic diseases. Solid phase assays are increasingly replacing indirect immunofluorescence for detection of antinuclear antibodies. In the most recent generation of solid phase assays, manufacturers attempt to improve the performance of the assays by adding extra antigens. Solid phase assay (EliA CTD Screen, Phadia, in which antibodies to 17 antigens are detected) was compared to indirect immunofluorescence for the detection of antinuclear antibodies in diagnostic samples of 236 patients with autoimmune connective tissue diseases, in 149 healthy blood donors, 139 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, and 134 diseased controls. The sensitivity of EliA CTD Screen for systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic sclerosis, primary Sjögren's syndrome, mixed connective tissue disease, and inflammatory myopathy was 74%, 72%, 89%, 100%, and 39%, respectively. The reactivity in blood donors, in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, and in diseased controls was <4%. Likelihood ratios increased with increasing antibody concentrations. Generally, a positive test result by EliA CTD Screen had a higher likelihood ratio for systemic rheumatic disease than a positive test result by indirect immunofluorescence. A negative test result by indirect immunofluorescence, however, had a lower likelihood ratio than a negative test result by EliA CTD Screen, indicating that the negative predictive value was higher for indirect immunofluorescence than for EliA CTD screen.
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