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Antithyroglobulin antibody

Antithyroglobulin antibody is a test to measure antibodies to a protein called thyroglobulin. This protein is found in thyroid cells.

How the Test is Performed

A blood sample is needed.

How to Prepare for the Test

You may be told not to eat or drink anything for several hours (usually overnight). Your health care provider may monitor you or tell you to stop taking certain medicines for a short time before the test because they may affect the test results. Never stop taking any medicine without first talking to your provider.

How the Test will Feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. 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 helps detect possible thyroid problems.

Antithyroglobulin antibodies can be a sign of thyroid gland damage caused by the immune system. They may be measured if thyroiditis is suspected.

Measuring thyroglobulin antibody levels after treatment for thyroid cancer can help your provider decide what the best test is to monitor you for a recurrence of the cancer.

Normal Results

A negative test result is a normal result. It means no antibodies to thyroglobulin are found in your blood.

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

What Abnormal Results Mean

A positive test means antithyroglobulin antibodies are found in your blood. They may be present with:

Pregnant women and relatives of those with autoimmune thyroiditis may also test positive for these antibodies.

Risks

Veins and arteries vary in size from one person to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling lightheaded
  • Hematoma (blood buildup under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

Alternative Names

Thyroglobulin antibody; Thyroiditis - thyroglobulin antibody; Hypothyroidism - thyroglobulin antibody; Thyroiditis - thyroglobulin antibody; Graves disease - thyroglobulin antibody; Underactive thyroid - thyroglobulin antibody

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References

Salvatore D, Davies TF, Schlumberger MJ, Hay ID, Larsen PR. Thyroid physiology and diagnostic evaluation of patients with thyroid disorders. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 11.

Weiss RE, Refetoff S. Thyroid function testing. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 78.

Update Date 2/3/2016

Updated by: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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