Is an Immunofixation Urine Test?
Protein in the urine can be a sign of serious health
complications. The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products and
extra fluid out of the blood and into the urine, while leaving proteins in the
blood. However, when the filtering process isn’t functioning properly, the body
filters these proteins out of the blood and into the urine.
Various diagnostic tests can determine the type and the amount of
protein in the urine. The test results will help your doctor determine an
appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
The immunofixation urine
test or urine immunofixation test detects the presence and measures
the amount of certain types of proteins in the urine. These proteins are known
as immunoglobulins. They fall
into two broad classifications: normal or abnormal.
Abnormal immunoglobulins in
the urine suggest the presence of disease. An example of an abnormal
immunoglobulin is monoclonal protein or M protein.
Do I Need an Immunofixation Urine Test?
The immunofixation urine test is a common test used when a doctor
suspects an individual may have certain health conditions, including multiple
myeloma and Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia. These disorders produce abnormal
immunoglobulins that the immunofixation urine test can detect in the urine.
Symptoms of multiple myeloma include:
- increased bruising and bleeding of the gums or
from the nose
- fatigue, paleness, and shortness of breath due
- fevers of unknown origin and repeated infections
- bone pain, especially in the spine, ribs, skull,
- unexplained bone damage and fractures
- symptoms of high levels of calcium in the blood,
including muscle aches/weakness, joint pain, heart arrhythmias, constipation,
nausea, vomiting, and changes in mental status
Symptoms of Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia include:
- bleeding of the gums
- blurred vision
- easy bruising of the skin
- changes in mental status
- numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- unexplained rash
The immunofixation urine test is a common screening measure to
evaluate abnormal immunoglobulin levels because the results are available more
quickly than they would be with other tests.
The immunoelectrophoresis-serum (IEP-serum) test provides similar
results. It may take longer to obtain results from the IEP-serum test. However,
the results may be more accurate.
Is the Immunofixation Urine Test Performed?
The immunofixation urine test occurs in a healthcare setting. You
will need to provide a midstream, clean-catch urine sample. This method will
help prevent germs that may be near or in the urethra from entering the sample
Your doctor or nurse will supply you with a clean-catch urine
kit. The kit will include sterile towels for cleaning and a sterile-catch container
with a lid. If you are male, you must first clean the head of the penis using
the sterile towels. If you are female, use the sterile towels to wash the area
between the lips of the vulva.
After carefully cleaning yourself, you will urinate a small amount
into the toilet bowl and then stop the flow of urine. This will clear the
urethra of contaminants. Then you will collect the remaining urine in the
sterile cup. The total volume of the urine sample should be between one and two
When you finish collecting the sample, you will place the lid on
the cup and either leave it in a box marked for samples or take it to your
doctor or nurse. The individual who gave you the clean-catch kit will tell you
what to do with the sample. The doctor or nurse will then send the urine sample
to the lab for evaluation.
The clean-catch urine procedure can be awkward, and you may find
your first sample is less than the required one to two ounces. This isn’t
unusual. You can complete more than one clean-catch procedure to acquire the
needed sample volume.
You must ask for a new, sterile clean-catch kit for each attempt
to collect urine. You can’t reuse the sterile towels and containers. Repeat all
the steps of the clean-catch urine procedure as you collect more urine.
The immunofixation urine test requires only normal urination. The
test isn’t invasive and doesn’t pose any significant risks to the patient. The
test shouldn’t produce any discomfort.
Do the Results Mean?
A negative result from the test indicates that there are no
abnormal immunoglobulins present in the urine. If the test doesn’t detect abnormal
immunoglobulins, you may not need to undergo any additional testing.
A positive result means that abnormal immunoglobulins were
present in your urine Abnormal immunoglobulins may suggest a serious health
issue such as multiple
myeloma or Waldenstrom’s
macroglobulinemia. The presence of abnormal immunoglobulins also may be an
indication of other types of cancer.
The immunofixation urine test is only one of several diagnostic
tests that will confirm your diagnosis. The detection of abnormal
immunoglobulins may not indicate an underlying health condition for some
patients. A small percentage of individuals have low levels of abnormal
immunoglobulins in their bodies. These individuals don’t develop any health
problems. This condition is known as monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance (MGUS).