What is a cytomegalovirus (CMV) test?
The Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a herpes virus. Additional forms of herpes viruses include chickenpox and mononucleosis (mono). Infections with CMV are quite prevalent. The virus persists in the body for the remainder of your life after the original infection. The virus is mostly latent most of the time (inactive). Yet, under some circumstances, such as stress or an immune system malfunction, it might become active again.
CMV infections in healthy adults frequently result in mild flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all. The majority of CMV patients are unaware of their condition. CMV, on the other hand, can be hazardous to persons who have weaker immune systems as a result of illnesses such as HIV or cancer. It can potentially create serious health issues in newborns. A pregnant woman who is infected with CMV might spread the virus to her unborn child. In newborns who are infected before birth, CMV can cause deafness, eye issues, intellectual disability, and other significant illnesses.
CMV tests look for the virus in the blood, sputum, or other bodily fluids. CMV testing can assist patients at risk of problems in receiving the necessary therapy. While there is no proper cure for CMV, antiviral medications and other therapies may alleviate symptoms and improve results.
Other names: Other names are cytomegalovirus antibody, CMV IgG and IgM
What are they used for?
CMV tests are used to aid in the diagnosis of a current, reactivated, or previous CMV infection in persons who are at risk of health consequences. Groups at risk include:
- Individuals who have reduced immune systems because of any illnesses or disorders.
- Individuals who have recently had an organ transplant.
- Women who are pregnant and have CMV symptoms.
- Infection symptoms in newborns.
Why do I need a CMV test?
One may need this test when they have a weakened immune system or are pregnant with following :
Your baby may need this test if he or she has the following symptoms:
- Low birth weight
- Small head
- Hearing and vision problems
What happens during a CMV test?
There are many types of CMV tests, such as:
This is the most often used method for testing people for CMV.
During the test, a healthcare provider will use a tiny needle to draw blood from a vein in the arm. After the insertion of the needle, a little amount of blood will be collected in a test tube or vial.
A spinal tap, also known as a lumbar puncture, will be used to acquire a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). A numbing substance (anesthetic) will be injected into your back during the test, and a thin, hollow needle will be inserted between two vertebrae in your lower spine. The little bones that make up your spine are known as vertebrae.
After that, your physician will extract a tiny amount of fluid.
Sputum is a thick mucus that accumulates in the lungs after an infection or persistent sickness. During the test, your doctor will ask you to take a big breath and cough into a particular cup.
To assist in releasing sputum from your lungs, your physician may tap you on the chest.
Your physician will take a tiny tissue sample for testing during the exam.
Biopsies can be performed with a needle or a specialized surgical device.
This test is used on pregnant women to determine if their unborn child has CMV. You will be lying on your back on an exam table for the process.
An ultrasound equipment will be passed over your belly by your provider. Ultrasound examines the location of your uterus, placenta, and baby using sound waves.
A fine needle will be inserted into your abdomen by your physician to extract a little amount of amniotic fluid.
A saliva or urine test is routinely administered to newborns.
During a saliva test on an infant:
- A sterile swab will be inserted into your baby's cheek and swirled for several seconds.
- For testing, the swab will be put in a specific solution.
During a urine test on an infant:
- You'll be handed a special plastic bag to place over your baby's genital region.
- You will cover the bag with a diaper.
- When your infant has urinated, remove the bag from the diaper and dump the urine into the container provided by your provider.
How to prepare for the test?
A blood or sputum test requires no specific preparation. A newborn saliva or urine test also requires no preparation.
Before a lumbar puncture, you may need to empty your bladder.
Before a biopsy, you may be instructed to fast (not eat or drink) for many hours.
Depending on your stage of pregnancy, you may be requested to retain a full bladder or to empty your bladder shortly before the surgery.
If any more preparations are required, your physician or your child's provider will notify you.
What are the associated risks?
A sputum, newborn saliva, or infant urine test has no known risks. In case there is some discomfort then it will go soon.
What do the findings imply?
The test result can determine whether you have been infected with CMV. Nevertheless, it cannot determine if the infection is present, previous, or renewed. If you have symptoms and risk factors, such as an immune system issue, your physician may do further tests to assist in making a diagnosis and developing a treatment plan. If your amniocentesis reveals that your baby has CMV, your child's physician may test and treat your infant promptly after delivery to help prevent difficulties.
If you have any concerns regarding your results, speak with your doctor or your child's doctor.
Important information to about CMV testing?
CMV tests are included in a TORCH panel, which is a collection of blood tests used to screen infants and pregnant women for the following infections:
If a woman contracts certain diseases while pregnant, it might result in birth abnormalities. Early detection and treatment may help a newborn avoid developing a significant health condition.