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Cold Agglutinins

What Affects the Test

You may not be able to have this test or the results may not be helpful if you are taking antibiotics, especially penicillin and cephalosporins.

What To Think About

  • More than half of people infected with pneumonia caused by mycoplasma develop high levels of cold agglutinins. Newer tests for mycoplasma pneumonia have replaced the cold agglutinins blood test.
  • If clumped red blood cells (called a Rouleaux formation) are seen on a complete blood count (CBC) test, your doctor may order a cold agglutinins test to see whether high cold agglutinin levels are present.
  • A blood type test is done before a blood transfusion or organ transplant to make sure that the donor's and recipient's blood types match. Blood that has high levels of cold agglutinins may be hard to type. To learn more about blood typing, see the topic Blood Type Test.
  • If a person has high levels of cold agglutinins and has symptoms brought on by cold temperatures, it is important for this person to be kept warm. High levels of cold agglutinins in this case could lead to frostbite, anemia, or Raynaud's phenomenon. Medicines to help lower high levels of cold agglutinins may be given when severe symptoms are brought on by cold exposure.
  • Older adults may have high titers of cold agglutinins that last for years.
  • Cold agglutinins in the blood can cause problems with automated machines that measure blood count.

Citations

  1. Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
Current as of March 12, 2014
1 | 2 | 3

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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