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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Tests and Exams > Coombs' Test, Direct
      Category : Health Centers > Blood Disorders and Lymphatic System

Coombs' Test, Direct

Overview & Description | Preparation & Expectations | Results and Values

The direct Coombs' test detects antibodies, which are proteins that react against other molecules, on the surface of an individual's red blood cells.

Who is a candidate for the test?

The direct Coombs' test is usually done to see if a person is making antibodies against his or her own red blood cells. These antibodies are called "autoantibodies."

How is the test performed?

To perform the direct Coombs' test, a blood sample is taken from a vein on the forearm or hand. To get a blood sample, the skin over the vein is cleaned with an antiseptic. Next, a strong rubber tube, or "tourniquet," is wrapped around the upper arm. This enlarges the veins in the lower arm by restricting blood flow through them. A fine needle is gently inserted into a vein, and the tourniquet is removed. Blood flows from the vein through the needle and is collected in a syringe or vial for testing in the laboratory. After the needle is withdrawn, the puncture site is covered for a short time to prevent bleeding.

In the laboratory, a simple test is performed to see if the red blood cells agglutinate, or clump together.


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Coombs' Test, Direct: Preparation & Expectations

Author: David T. Moran, MD
Reviewer: William M. Boggs, MD
Date Reviewed: 04/19/01

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