A titer test is a blood test that detects the presence (qualitative) & amount (quantitative) of antibodies in the bloodstream. Blood can be analyzed to measure dozens of certain antibodies related to a broad range of medical conditions. The titer test is carried out to check if there is an immune reaction triggered by foreign invaders (antigens) in the body. And it can also check if a person has had an infection or is immune to a disease, this occurs when a person has contracted the disease or vaccination.
This article covers all the significant topics related to titer tests such as the test cost, preparation for tests, risk factor, and how to get tested for a titer test.
- What is a titer test?
- Why it is done?
- What do titer tests check for?
- How should you prepare?
- What happens during a titer test?
- Risk of this test
- What do the results mean?
- Provider locations
For our readers who are interested in knowing the titer test cost beforehand, we begin with that section.
How much does the titer test cost?
Titer test costs range from $429 in different labs and facilities across the US. Prior appointment isn’t required. You can order tests online by comparing the price or visiting the nearest lab during lab business hours. You will get the results in your email in 2 to 3 business days after completing the procedure. Apart from this, doctor consultation is available for any kind of further treatment or medical advice.
The table below shows the titer test provider and their prices. You can know more and book the test by clicking on the “Book Now” button.
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Titer test cost with insurance
Many insurance companies in the U.S. cover all the vital tests like the titer test. However, the coverage provided by private health insurance companies and national health insurance programs like Medicare varies widely. Most of the health insurance policies cover titer test costs only once or twice a year and when your physician orders more than twice in a year, you should pay the test cost out of pocket. So, you are recommended to check if your health insurance policy covers the titer test cost.
Our titer testing providers do not accept any kind of health insurance policy. However, they can provide you with an itemized receipt containing all the details viz the name of the test, code of the test, and CPT code which is necessary for insurance reimbursement purposes.
What is a titer test?
Generally, immunoglobulins or antibodies are specialized proteins produced by the immune system to identify and destroy foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. A titer test is used to determine the presence and amount of antibodies in the blood. Measuring certain antibodies can determine if a person has been vaccinated against or previously infected by a certain pathogen. And the test is done to investigate if there is an immune reaction triggered by foreign invaders in the body. In people with autoimmune disorders (like systemic lupus erythematosus) the titer test is done to check the degree and extent of an immune reaction against the body’s own cells. This test is recommended for people who are unsure of the vaccination history, think they may need a booster, or have been infected by a disease.
For this test, the blood sample will be diluted serially and incubated with known antigens to find out the presence of antibodies against these antigens. The number of dilutions depends on the concentration of antibodies in the blood.
Why it is done?
The titer test is used to determine:
- If you need a booster vaccine
- Whether a vaccine you had before helped the immune system to protect you against the specific disease
- If you recently had or currently have an infection
- The strength of an immune response to the body’s tissue in diseases like an autoimmune disorder
Apart from this, medical workers may need this test to ensure that they have antibodies to viruses to which they have frequent exposure. And titer tests may be an option to prove that you have received a certain vaccine when medical records cannot provide proof of vaccination.
What do titer tests check for?
Certain antibodies are produced in response to certain pathogens like viruses. The presence of certain antibodies can show that a person has been vaccinated or has been exposed to a particular pathogen. This test can check for a variety of diseases including:
- Varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox and shingles)
- Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C
- Diphtheria (bacterial infection)
How should you prepare?
Generally, you do not need to take any special measures to prepare for the titer test. It’s important to tell your doctor about any prescription or nonprescription medications, dietary supplements, and vitamins you are taking because some can affect immune function. Research has shown that people who are receiving chemotherapy have a decrease in antibody levels. So, let your doctor know if you have recently undergone or are currently undergoing chemotherapy. Also, tell doctors if you have had any recent illnesses.
What happens during a titer test?
This testing requires a blood sample. Usually, the sample is drawn from a vein in your arm or some tests can also use blood obtained from a finger prick. A lab tech or healthcare professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm. They will tie a band around the upper part of the arm to make the vein fill with blood and swell up. And the healthcare professional will clean the area with an antiseptic and place a needle into the vein. After inserting the needle, a small amount of blood will be collected into a vial or test tube. There can be a brief stinging sensation when the needle is inserted. After taking the blood, they will remove the needle and band. And they will put a piece of gauze and a bandage over the spot to stop the bleeding.
Risk of this test
There is little risk in having a titer test. You may have bruising or slight pain in the area where the needle was inserted. But these symptoms go away quickly.
What do the results mean?
The normal values depend on the antibody being tested or measured. And the normal value may vary slightly among different labs. If the test is done to look for antibodies against the body tissues, the normal value would be zero or negative. Whereas in some cases the normal level is below a specific number. And when the test is done to see if a vaccine fully protects you against a disease, the normal result depends on the specific value of that immunization.
Abnormal test results depend on the antibody being tested or measured. Abnormal test results may indicate:
- Immune disorders like antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (aPL), hyper-IgE syndrome, or X-linked hyper-IgM syndrome
- Immune deficiency
- Viral infections
- Failure of a vaccine to fully protect a person against a certain disease
The results of the titer test should be discussed with the doctor. And further testing may include CBC (complete blood count), quantitative measure of serum immunoglobulin levels, or peripheral blood smear.
A titer test can be done in any of the following locations by visiting the lab near you. To know the titer test cost, refer to the first section of the article.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Frequently Asked Questions
Will insurance cover my testing cost?
No, insurance will not be covered in the billing. However, they will provide you with a receipt for insurance reimbursement purposes.
How should I book my appointment?
You can choose the most suitable provider from above and make an appointment by following the instructions mentioned by them.
Can I cancel my lab test order?
Yes, you can cancel your lab test order any time before your testing. A refund will be initiated after deducting the cancellation fee. However, cancellation is at the discretion of the provider.
Do the providers offer result interpretations?
Yes, a few providers may provide doctor consultation who will take you through the results and provide clarification if needed.
How do I receive my report?
To ensure your privacy, the test report will be mailed to you by the provider.
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