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Blood tests

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Blood tests are taken by piercing the skin (usually of the inside of the elbow) with a hypodermic needle and allowing vials to fill with blood. The blood can then be tested for various things. Usually there is no preparation needed.

As a diagnostic tool, a full blood count will be taken. This measures the number and healthiness of the major components of the blood, including red blood cells (which carry oxygen around the body), white blood cells (which fight infection) and platelets (which allow the blood to clot). Imbalances in the composition of the blood normally indicates the body is not healthy. For instance, a decrease in the number of red blood cells can mean there is undetected bleeding in the body, or a nutritional deficiency. An increase in white blood cells can indicate inflammation.

The blood can also be tested to determine if certain organs are working correctly (e.g. liver function test). Some medications can potentially affect major organs (e.g. azathioprine), so your blood is tested regularly while on these medications, as problems can then be detected before they turn serious.

- PROMETHEUS Crohn's Prognostic test - this test is designed to help determine if you are likely to develop complications. It is for post-diagnosis assessment designed to help physicians tailor treatment to the individual.

- Prometheus IBD sgi Diagnostic - helps physicians determine if a patient has IBD or not and whether it is Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.

- Prometheus TPMT Genetics - This test should be given PRIOR to starting a thiopurine as it can help determine optimal starting dose OR if you should avoid thiopurines altogether.

- Prometheus TPMT Enzyme - Helps your doctor further fine tune your starting dose.

- Prometheus Thiopurine Metabolite - If you are prescribed Azathioprine (Imuran) or 6MP, both of which are thiopurines, this test can help your physician fine tune your dosage.

- PROMETHEUS Serum Infliximab/HACA Measurement - this test can help your doctor determine optimal Remicade (Infliximab) dosage and infusion intervals. HACA is "Human Anti-Chimeric Antibodies" and if you develop these, you may experience reactions to treatment and/or reduced effectiveness of Remicade.

- PROMETHEUS NOD2 / CARD15 - Helps physicians determine if you are at an increased likelihood for strictures or fistula and contour your treatment based upon this.

Prometheus labs IBD serology 7- Used to diagnose IBD, however it has been reported anecdotally that this test is not particularly accurate, with many patients testing negative even though there is active inflammation. Prometheus labs report a Sensitivity and Specificity of around 90% (depending on the type of IBD), meaning around one in 10 patients with IBD will test negative, and one in 10 people without IBD will test positive.

See also: Blood test codes and results explained

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