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Latex agglutination test

The latex agglutination test is a laboratory method to check for certain antibodies or antigens in a variety of bodily fluids including saliva, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, or blood.

How the Test is Performed

The test depends on what type of sample is needed.

The sample is sent to a lab, where it is mixed with latex beads coated with a specific antibody or antigen. If the suspected substance is present, the latex beads will clump together (agglutinate).

Latex agglutination results take about 15 minutes to an hour.

How to Prepare for the Test

Your health care provider may tell you to limit certain foods or medications shortly before the test to ensure accurate test results.

Why the Test is Performed

This test is a quick way to determine the absence or presence of an antigen or antibody. Your health care provider will base any treatment decisions, at least in part, on the results of this test.

Normal Results

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your health care provider about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

If there is an antigen-antibody match, agglutination will occur.

References

Ashihara Y, Kasahara Y, Nakamura RM. Immunoassays and immunochemistry. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 44.

Updated: 8/19/2013

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


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