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Heterophil Agglutination Test

The Heterophil Agglutination Test is a test performed on the blood collected from the patient. The procedure to withdraw blood is pretty standard with the blood getting collected in a vialor a syringe.  The Heterophil Agglutination Test is then performed to show the presence of Heterophil antibodies.

The blood is usually collected from the inside of the elbow or even the back of the hand. The punctured area is then cleaned with antiseptic after the blood is collected. It is also called as the Paul Bunnell test or Forssmann Antibody test.

The human body reacts to an infection in a pre programmed   manner. The preferred reaction and the most common reaction to any infection is the production of antibodies to counter act the infection.

Sometimes though, when the body is attacked by an infection, it ends up reacting by producing anti bodies which have nothing   to do with the infection in the first place.

 These antibodies are termed as Heterophil antibodies. This test is done in order to detect the presence of two antibodies which in itself is an indication of an infection due to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The test is not extremely painful or even difficult to conduct. No special preparation has to be done in order to undergo or conduct this test.

This test does serve a very important purpose as it indicates the presence of Heterophil antibodies which may lead to infection of some sort. The most common sort of infection seen in such cases is infectious Mononucleosis which is caused by Epstein-Barr virus.

 On a large scale, this test is not that risky to the patient’s health and does not cause any severe injuries. This test is a type of blood test meaning that after the blood is drawn, a battery of tests are conducted in order to verify the ailment and heterophil agglutination test is one of them.

This test should be carried out by a licensed physician/ doctor or a certified pathologist only.

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