Review Article

Autoimmunity Highlights

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 35-49

First online:

Missing links in high quality diagnostics of inflammatory systemic rheumatic diseases

It is all about the patient!
  • Allan S. WiikAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Biochemistry, Clinical Immunology and Biomarkers, Statens Serum Institut Email author 
  • , Nicola BizzaroAffiliated withLaboratory of Clinical Pathology, S. Antonio Hospital

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The aim of this review is to focus attention on high quality diagnostics of systemic inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Though many steps in the diagnostic process from the first visit in a doctor’s office till a final diagnosis have been established a lot of things still must be done to improve quality assurance and secure fast and safe transmission of data from one step to the next. Some procedures inherent in early high quality diagnostics need to be worked out. A number of elements can be improved, some stumble stones can be removed, and a tighter collaboration between actors at different levels in the line of action in clinical and laboratory medicine can be organized. Several proposals have been made by international working groups such as the IUIS International Autoantibody Standardization Committee, and the EASI steering group in collaboration with their national EASI teams. Practical exercises carried out for more than three decades by the European Consensus Finding Study Group have proven to very useful. The review points at several principles worked out by these international expert groups can be useful in actual daily practice also in rheumatology. The hope is that the presentation will give rise to a continued discussion on how to link different parts of the diagnostic process together and strengthen collaboration between all teams involved in the diagnostic chain. The ultimate measure of success will be better clinical outcomes for patients and increased satisfaction in their families.


Autoimmunity Antinuclear antibodies Laboratory diagnostics Harmonization Standardization Quality assurance