What is a CCP Test for Rheumatoid Arthritis?
A CCP test for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a simple procedure that helps a physician distinguish between rheumatoid and other types of arthritis. Typically, this test is ordered to deny or confirm RA when the patient does not exhibit the usual signs and symptoms of the inflammatory disease.
CCP stands for cystic citrullinated peptide, an amino acid that is present in the body when another amino acid, by the name of arginine, becomes mutated. As a result, the body creates autoantibodies which are linked to the pain, swelling, and inflammation caused by RA.
Although fairly new, the CCP test for RA is a useful tool for diagnosing in the early stages of the condition. The test is typically not the sole tool that may be used for diagnosis though, as a rheumatoid factor (RF) test may commonly be ordered as well.
The CCP test can determine if there are citrulline antibodies present in the blood stream, which is a good indicator of whether or not the individual does have RA. According to recent statistics, this test for rheumatoid arthritis is highly accurate, this is especially so for early diagnosis and may be more accurate than other forms of testing.
Preparation for Testing
Patients having this test done will typically not have any type of special preparation. A CCP test for rheumatoid arthritis is done via blood test. Like similar procedures involving blood work, the blood sample is simply removed from the vein, usually in the arm by needle. The patient does not need to fast or take any other measures, as this will not change the results of such a test.
In addition, the results are in common terms and easy to understand. A negative result means that the antibody is not currently present, while a positive result indicates that the citrulline antibody is present and that the individual most likely has rheumatoid arthritis. Once the presence of the antibody has been confirmed, the physician may order additional testing and/or recommend that the patient start treatment.
The CCP test is considered one of the most accurate tests for determining RA. As of now, there are no known substances or conditions that can easily alter the results of the test. As a matter of fact, it may even be used to rule out RA in individuals who tested positive for RF but do not have this particular condition.
AACP. Lab Tests Online. 22 October, 2009. www.labtestsonline.org. Viewed 28 October, 2009.