An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, also called ELISA or EIA, is a test that detects and measures antibodies in your blood. This test can be used to determine if you have antibodies related to certain infectious conditions. Antibodies are proteins that your body produces in response to harmful substances called antigens.
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An ELISA test may be used to diagnose:
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ELISA is often used as a screening tool before ordering more in-depth tests. Your doctor may recommend this test if you have signs or symptoms of the above conditions. Your doctor may also order this test if they want to rule out any of these conditions.
How is the test done?
The ELISA test is simple and clear. You may need to sign a consent form and your doctor will need to explain the reason for the test. In an ELISA test, a blood sample is taken. First, the doctor will clean your hands with an antiseptic. A tourniquet or tape is then placed around your arm to create pressure and cause your veins to swell with blood.
A needle will then be inserted into one of your veins to collect a small sample of blood. When enough blood has collected, the needle is removed and a small bandage is placed around the hand where the needle was.
You will be asked to hold pressure at the puncture site for a few minutes to reduce blood flow. This process should be relatively painless, but your hands may start to throb soon after.