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Ask the Rheumatologist: Latest Answer

Q:

Julie from Calgary asks: Does a negative test rule out ankylosing spondylitis?

A:

As of 2017, there are no definitive blood tests which can diagnose or rule out ankylosing spondylitis.  HLA B27 is a genetic marker which is often found in patients with AS, but it is not required to make a diagnosis.  Similarly, inflammatory markers in the blood may be elevated in AS, but may also be normal.  To make a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis, or to rule it out, a patient should review their story with their physician or rheumatologist.  The rheumatologist often will obtain further imaging, including x-rays or an MRI of the lower spine, to help ascertain a diagnosis.

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