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Monospot Test Overview

written by: AlyssaAst•edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 7/31/2009

A monospot test is used to diagnose a common medical condition called mononucleosis (mono). This procedure is very simple to undergo with little preparation needed. There are few risks involved with this testing.

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    Mononucleosis (mono) is a very common medical complication that affects many people every year. To properly diagnose this condition, there are very simple tests that can be used. One of the tests is the monospot test. This test requires very little preparation. Few risks are associated with this diagnostic tool. There are different forms of this test that can be used.

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    Monospot Test

    This test is a fast technique that can be used by doctors to find heterophil antibodies in the blood. This type of antibody forms when certain infections are present in the body. This test requires a small amount of blood to be placed on a microscope slide, where it is mixed with another substance. The doctors are able to tell if the antibodies are present if the blood begins to clump. Mono can be diagnosed using this diagnostic procedure two to nine weeks after a person has become infected.

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    Preparation for a Monospot Test

    Testing for mono requires no special preparation steps. A doctor will discuss the aspects of the test and ask if there are any questions or concerns about the procedure. The possible outcome of the test results will be explained fully.

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    The Monospot Test Procedure

    This test for mono can be done one of two ways. A blood sample can either be taken from the fingertip or from a vein. When the fingertip is used to obtain a blood sample, your hands will be washed with either warm water and soap or alcohol. The hands will gently be massaged before the blood sample is taken. Using the middle finger or the ring finger, the fingertip will be punctured with a small hole using a lancet. The first drops of blood that are emitted from the puncture hole will not be used. The blood that follows will be collected into a small tube. The puncture hole is then cleaned and covered with a bandage.

    The second form of this test it to collect blood from a vein. To perform this test, an elastic band will be placed around the upper arm. This is done to stop the blood flow to that area. The vein then becomes larger and easier to work with. The site that will be used for the injection will be cleaned with alcohol. A needle will be inserted into the vein to collect a blood sample. Once the blood is collected into a tube, the site will be cleaned and bandaged.

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    Risks of the Test

    Both testing techniques have few risks associated with them. A bruise may occur at the puncture sites but will go away in a few days. Very rarely, the vein can become swollen. People with bleeding disorders may have trouble stopping the bleeding.

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    “Mononucleosis Tests” December 20, 2007

    “Mononucleosis” June 28, 2008