What is the role of lab testing in the diagnosis of cervical disc disease?

Updated: Apr 16, 2020
  • Author: Michael B Furman, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Dean H Hommer, MD  more...
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See the list below:

  • Consider performing rheumatologic workup to evaluate for possible rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Reiter syndrome, and polymyalgia rheumatica. These tests include the following:

    • Rheumatoid factor (elevated in rheumatoid arthritis)

    • HLA-B27 (positive in ankylosing spondylitis)

    • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (elevated in polymyalgia rheumatica)

  • Consider performing infection workup to evaluate for possible discitis, epidural abscess, and vertebral osteomyelitis, including the following tests:

    • White blood cell count with differential (elevated with a left shift in bacterial infection)

    • Blood cultures (positive for the infecting organism)

    • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (elevated in infection, but may be a nonspecific finding)

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