Despite the expansion of available in-vitro laboratory tests at a rate far exceeding that of dermatological pharmaceuticals, the existing literature is dominated by discussion of the latter. With the advent of numerous new tests, it can be difficult for practicing dermatologists to stay up to date on the available options, methodologies, and recommendations for when to order one test over another. Understanding inherent strengths and weaknesses of these options is necessary to inform appropriate ordering and proper interpretation of results. The first article in this continuing medical education series summarizes information on methodology, test characteristics, and limitations of several in-vitro laboratory tests used for the workup of undifferentiated patients suspected of having dermatologic autoimmune diseases and provides a general guide to ordering these tests.
Keywords: antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody; antinuclear antibody; autoimmune; autoimmune blistering diseases; bullous pemphigoid; dermatitis herpetiformis; dermatomyositis; diagnostic testing; epidermolysis bullosa acquisita; inflammatory bowel disease; medical dermatology; pemphigus.
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