HLA Testing

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Also known as: Tissue Typing; HLA Typing; Histocompatibility Testing; HLA Crossmatching; HLA Antibody Testing/Screening/Identification
Formal name: Human Leukocyte Antigen; HLA Oligotyping; HLA Sequence-based Typing
Related tests: Blood Typing; HLA-B27; HLA-A, B, C, DR and DQ

At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

To identify which human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes and antigens a person has inherited. Either to;

1) Match donors and recipients of organ and bone marrow transplants and to detect antibodies to HLA antigens that would cause transplants to be unsuccessful

2) Confirm the diagnosis of a disorder which only affects individuals of a certain HLA type

3) Predict the likelihood of an adverse drug reaction associated with a specific HLA type

When to Get Tested?

Most often, transplant recipients are tested when it is determined that they need an organ or bone marrow transplant, prior to seeking and selecting a suitable donor; potential donors are tested when they are being evaluated for compatibility with a specific recipient or are signing up with a national donor registry.

If someone is suspected of having a clinical disorder associated strongly with a given HLA type, testing may be undertaken as part of the diagnostic workup.

If a clinician plans to start a drug which has serious side effects, associated with a specific HLA type, testing would be done before the medicine is prescribed or rarely as part of investigating an unusual reaction.

Sample Required?

A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm; sometimes, for HLA typing, a swab from the inside of the cheek (buccal swab) or a saliva sample.

Test Preparation Needed?

When providing a saliva sample you should not eat, drink, smoke or chew gum for 30 minutes prior to giving a sample.