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How to use autoantibodies in suspected paediatric rheumatic disease
  1. Jaclyn Keightley1,2,
  2. Jo Walsh2,
  3. Ruth M Bland1,3
  1. 1 Department of General Paediatrics, Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2 Department of Paediatric Rheumatology, Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow, UK
  3. 3 Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jaclyn Keightley, General Paediatrics and Paediatric Rheumatology, Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow G51 4TF, UK; jaclyn.keightley{at}


Autoantibodies can be an important indicator of paediatric rheumatic disease and useful in establishing a diagnosis. However, autoantibodies may be requested in cases where the patient does not have clinical features strongly suggestive of a rheumatic disease. This can lead to further unnecessary investigations, specialist referral and undue anxiety for the family. The aim of this article is to provide guidance for when it is appropriate to request autoantibodies, which ones to perform and how to interpret the results.

  • Paediatrics
  • Rheumatology
  • Child Health
  • Adolescent Health

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  • Contributors JK was the main author of this paper. RMB and JW contributed to the planning of this paper and revised the paper critically.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.