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November 1983

Significance of a Positive Antinuclear Antibody Test in a Pediatric Population

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco. Dr Chudwin is now with Rush Medical College, Chicago.

Am J Dis Child. 1983;137(11):1103-1106. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1983.02140370063021

• Clinical and laboratory findings in 138 children seen during a ten-year period with a positive antinuclear antibody (ANA) test were reviewed. Two thirds (91 of 138) of the patients had specific autoimmune or rheumatic diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (n=37), juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (n=33), Sjögren's syndrome (n=9), mixed connective tissue disease (n = 7), dermatomyositis (n=3), and discoid lupus (n=2). Another 27 patients had symptoms of autoimmune disease but did not fit criteria for specific disorders. Nine patients with IgA deficiency had a positive ANA test but did not have symptomatic autoimmune disease. Ten children had a positive ANA test in association with infections, mainly viral, and one had leukemia. Because most children with a positive ANA test had readily diagnosable autoimmune disorders, pediatric patients with a positive ANA on repeated testing should undergo clinical and laboratory studies for autoimmune or rheumatic disease.

(Am J Dis Child 1983;137:1103-1106)