I've been seeing my rheumy for 2 yrs - the only positive lab test being the ANA. Right now I still have the UCTD diagnosis, but she continues to test every six months for RA, Lupus, and others. She Rxd Plaquenil 6 mos. ago, which has helped with some of my symptoms. The ANA had remained positive for 18 mos, but we are due to test it again for the first time after being on the Plaquenil.... I'm curious about whether it will have changed or even turned into a negative result.
The diagnositic "limbo" period is not fun - but this forum helped immensely with perspective in dealing with it.
Good luck! - Lucy
Post Edited (dbab) : 6/2/2009 3:26:21 PM (GMT-6)
OK - sort of answered my own question after doing a little research. Hope it helps others who might be wondering.
by Richard Silver, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina (originally published in "Scleroderma Voice," 2002 Issue #1)
Question: When you have a positive ANA titer (concentration), can the pattern change, and if so, what does this mean? Is the pattern of the titer indicative of the disease you could develop?
Richard Silver, M.D.
Answer: Both the pattern and the titer (concentration) may change, and certain patterns are indicative of specific autoimmune diseases.
For example, the anti-centromere and the anti-nucleolar patterns are fairly specific for scleroderma, but other patterns such as the speckled pattern may be seen in both scleroderma and other connective-tissue diseases.
Generally, the ANA test is used by the rheumatologist to help support or refute a clinical impression; neither the pattern nor the titer is used to monitor the course of disease. Changes in pattern and titer are relatively insensitive, and therefore not very useful for the clinician.