Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

IgA nephropathy is often detected after you notice blood in your urine or when a routine test shows you have protein or blood in your urine. These could be signs of several types of kidney disease. To identify your problem, these tests may be performed:

  • Urine test. Blood or protein in the urine may be the first sign of IgA nephropathy. This may be discovered as part of a routine checkup. If your doctor suspects that you have problems with your kidneys, you may need to collect your urine for a 24-hour period for additional kidney function tests.
  • Blood tests. If you have kidney disease, such as IgA nephropathy, a blood test may show increased blood levels of the waste product creatinine.
  • Iothalamate clearance test. Your doctor may also recommend an iothalamate clearance test, which uses a special contrast agent to track how well your kidneys are filtering wastes.
  • Kidney imaging. Ultrasound or X-rays also may be used to evaluate the shape or size of your kidneys. A cystoscopy can rule out other causes of bleeding in the urinary tract.
  • Kidney biopsy. The only way for your doctor to confirm a diagnosis of IgA nephropathy is with a kidney biopsy. This procedure involves using a special biopsy needle to extract small pieces of kidney tissue for microscopic examination to determine if there are IgA deposits in the glomeruli.
Apr. 19, 2013