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What can I Expect During a Parvovirus B19 IgG Test?

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  • Written By: Debra Durkee
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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During a parvovirus B19 immunoglobulin G (IgG) test, you can typically expect to undergo a relatively simple process no different from having your blood drawn for other purposes, such giving blood. A needle is inserted into your arm, and the blood sample is drawn. This test determines whether there is a presence of antibodies used to fight the disease in your system. If your doctor decides it's necessary to test for the virus itself, you can expect to have a bone marrow sample taken in a more complicated procedure.

Parvovirus B19 IgG, also known as fifth disease, is estimated to be contracted at some point by about half of all adults, or possibly more. It typically has mild, flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all, and it runs its course in a matter of a few weeks. If you are suffering from chronic anemia or other types of iron-deficiency related conditions, your doctor might request the parvovirus B19 IgG test to rule out the possibility that your body is suffering from this infection and cannot fight it on its own.

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The typical parvovirus B19 IgG test is nothing more than some pressure and the brief sting of the needle. Everyone reacts to needles differently, though, and if you're not comfortable around them, you might find that you have some anxiety about the procedure. This test does not detect the presence of the virus but instead will show if there are antibodies present in the bloodstream that are fighting the virus. If there are, this results in a positive result for parvovirus B19 IgG.

If your doctor decides that he or she would rather determine whether the virus itself is present in your body, you can expect a more invasive test. In order to check for the presence of the virus, a bone marrow sample will be taken. The doctor will ask you to lie on your stomach or side and will administer a mild sedative. After the sedative takes effect and the site of the draw has been sterilized, the doctor will draw a sample of bone marrow, usually from your hip bone. The sample is drawn with a needle and syringe that acts as a vacuum to draw out a piece of the bone marrow.

Throughout the procedure, your heart rate, temperature and blood pressure will be carefully monitored, because there will be some fluctuation during the process. After it is completed, you'll be asked to remain still and quiet until all of your vital signs have returned to normal. A bandage will be applied to the site of the draw, and you'll be given instructions on how to keep it clean and dry for at least 48 hours. You can expect some more discomfort with this type of procedure, but it usually isn't the first option. It might be ordered if the doctor suspects that your immune system has been compromised or for various other health reasons.

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