Anti-glomerular basement membrane blood test

Definition

The glomerular basement membrane is the part of the kidney that helps filter waste and extra fluid from the blood.

Anti-glomerular basement membrane antibodies are antibodies against this membrane. They can lead to kidney damage. This article describes the blood test to detect these antibodies.

Alternative Names

GBM antibody test; Antibody to human glomerular basement membrane; Anti-GBM antibodies

How the Test is Performed

A blood sample is needed.

How to Prepare for the Test

No special preparation is necessary.

How the Test will Feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or a slight bruise. This soon goes away.

Why the Test is Performed

This test is used to diagnose certain kidney diseases, such as Goodpasture syndrome and anti-glomerular basement membrane disease.

Normal Results

Normally, there are none of these antibodies in the blood. Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Antibodies in the blood may mean any of the following:

Risks

There is little risk involved with having your blood taken. Veins and arteries vary in size from one person to another and from one side of the body to the other. Taking blood from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks:

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

Images

Blood test

References

Phelps RG, Turner AN. Anti-glomerular basement membrane disease and Goodpasture disease. In: Feehally J, Floege J, Tonelli M, Johnson RJ, eds. Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 24.

Saha MK, Pendergraft WF, Jennette JC, Falk RJ. Primary glomerular disease. In: Yu ASL, Chertow GM, Luyckx VA, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Taal MW, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 31.

Review Date: 
7/16/2019
Reviewed By: 
Walead Latif, MD, Nephrologist and Clinical Associate Professor, Rutgers Medical School, Newark, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. 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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