What is the role of lab studies in the diagnosis of hydatid cysts?

Updated: May 07, 2019
  • Author: Imad S Dandan, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

The results of routine laboratory blood work are nonspecific. Liver involvement may be reflected in an elevated bilirubin or alkaline phosphatase level. Leukocytosis may suggest infection of the cyst. Eosinophilia is present in 25% of all persons who are infected, while hypogammaglobinemia is present in 30%.

Almost every serodiagnostic technique has been evaluated for echinococcosis, with variable results. Note the following:

  • The indirect hemagglutination test and the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) have a sensitivity of 80% overall (90% in hepatic echinococcosis, 40% in pulmonary echinococcosis) and are the initial screening tests of choice.

  • Immunodiffusion and immunoelectrophoresis demonstrate antibodies to antigen 5 and provide specific confirmation of reactivity.

  • The ELISA test is useful in follow-up to detect recurrence.


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