Approach to laboratory ordering and interpretation in rheumatology

Postgrad Med J. 2023 Aug 22;99(1175):954-961. doi: 10.1136/pmj-2022-141864.


Evaluation of suspected rheumatic disease is a significant challenge due to overlapping and sometimes non-specific clinical features. Most laboratory tests in rheumatic disease have incomplete sensitivity and specificity, leading to positive results without disease and negative results despite disease presence. Therefore, judicious ordering and correct interpretation of laboratory testing in rheumatology is critical in order to provide high-value care. Herein we review laboratory testing in rheumatology in the context of a framework for approaching rheumatic disease.

Keywords: rheumatology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Rheumatic Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Rheumatology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity