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Anti-smooth muscle antibody

Anti-smooth muscle antibody is a blood test that detects the presence of antibodies against smooth muscle. The antibody is useful in making a diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis.

How the Test is Performed

A blood sample is needed. This may be taken through a vein. The procedure is called a venipuncture.

How to Prepare for the Test

No special steps are needed to prepare for this test.

How the Test will Feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others may feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the Test is Performed

You may need this test if you have signs of certain diseases, such as hepatitis and cirrhosis. These conditions can trigger the body to form antibodies against smooth muscle.

Anti-smooth muscle antibodies are not often seen in diseases other than autoimmune hepatitis. Therefore, it is helpful to make the diagnosis. Autoimmune hepatitis is treated with immunosuppressive medicines. People with autoimmune hepatitis often have other autoantibodies. These include:

  • Antinuclear antibodies
  • Antiactin antibodies
  • Anti-soluble liver antigen/liver pancreas (anti-SLA/LP) antibodies
  • Others

The diagnosis and management of autoimmune hepatitis may require a liver biopsy.

Normal Results

Normally, there are no antibodies present.

Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your health care provider about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

A positive test may be due to:

The test also helps distinguish autoimmune hepatitis from systemic lupus erythematosus.

Risks

Risks associated with having blood drawn are slight, but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling lightheaded
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

References

Chernecky CC, Berger BJ. Anti-smooth muscle antibody - serum. In: Chernecky CC, Berger BJ, eds. Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures. 6th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:155.

Czaja AJ. Autoimmune hepatitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 90.

    • Blood test

      Blood test - illustration

      Blood is drawn from a vein (venipuncture), usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. Preparation may vary depending on the specific test.

      Blood test

      illustration

    • Types of muscle tissue

      Types of muscle tissue - illustration

      The 3 types of muscle tissue are cardiac, smooth, and skeletal. Cardiac muscle cells are located in the walls of the heart, appear striated, and are under involuntary control. Smooth muscle fibers are located in walls of hollow visceral organs, except the heart, appear spindle-shaped, and are also under involuntary control. Skeletal muscle fibers occur in muscles which are attached to the skeleton. They are striated in appearance and are under voluntary control.

      Types of muscle tissue

      illustration

      • Blood test

        Blood test - illustration

        Blood is drawn from a vein (venipuncture), usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. Preparation may vary depending on the specific test.

        Blood test

        illustration

      • Types of muscle tissue

        Types of muscle tissue - illustration

        The 3 types of muscle tissue are cardiac, smooth, and skeletal. Cardiac muscle cells are located in the walls of the heart, appear striated, and are under involuntary control. Smooth muscle fibers are located in walls of hollow visceral organs, except the heart, appear spindle-shaped, and are also under involuntary control. Skeletal muscle fibers occur in muscles which are attached to the skeleton. They are striated in appearance and are under voluntary control.

        Types of muscle tissue

        illustration

      A Closer Look

       

      Tests for Anti-smooth muscle antibody

       

      Review Date: 2/8/2017

      Reviewed By: Gordon A. Starkebaum, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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