How Often Do People Get ANA-Negative Lupus?

Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2018

Ask the experts

I am a physician here in the Philippines. I have a patient with SLE with antiphospholipid syndrome. I would like to know if it possible to have a negative ANA result in patients with SLE. If so, what percentage of patients could exhibit this? What is the specific test for Antiphospholipid syndrome?

Doctor's response

Negative ANAs occur in approximately 5% of patients with SLE. Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome is defined by having certain specific conditions (such as thrombophlebitis, premature miscarriage, thrombocytopenia, livedo reticularis, multiple cerebral infarctions, and transverse myelitis) in the presence of abnormal antiphospholipid antibodies in the blood. It is not defined by the presence of the antibodies alone, as people can have the antibodies without any disease occurring. The common antibodies that are searched for in antiphospholipid antibody syndrome include cardiolipin antibodies, VDRL or RPR, PTT, lupus anticoagulant, and double-stranded DNA antibody. There is no single specific test for antiphospholipid antibody syndrome.

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