Diagnosis

If your doctor suspects you have polymyositis, he or she might suggest some of the following tests:

  • Blood tests. A blood test will let your doctor know if you have elevated levels of muscle enzymes, which can indicate muscle damage. A blood test can also detect specific autoantibodies associated with different symptoms of polymyositis, which can help in determining the best medication and treatment.
  • Electromyography. This test involves inserting a thin needle electrode through the skin into the muscle. Electrical activity is measured as you relax or tighten the muscle, and changes in the pattern of electrical activity can confirm a muscle disease. The doctor can determine the distribution of the disease by testing different muscles.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A scanner creates cross-sectional images of your muscles from data generated by a powerful magnetic field and radio waves. Unlike a muscle biopsy, an MRI can assess inflammation over a large area of muscle.
  • Muscle biopsy. During this test, a small piece of muscle tissue is surgically removed for laboratory analysis. Analysis may reveal abnormalities, such as inflammation, damage, certain proteins or enzyme deficiencies.
July 21, 2017
References
  1. Polymyositis and dermatomyositis. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/musculoskeletal-and-connective-tissue-disorders/autoimmune-rheumatic-disorders/polymyositis-and-dermatomyositis. Accessed April 13, 2017.
  2. Facts about inflammatory myopathies (myositis). Muscular Dystrophy Association. https://www.mda.org/sites/default/files/publications/Facts_Inflamm_Myopathies_P-199.pdf. Accessed April 13, 2017.
  3. Polymyositis information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Polymyositis-Information-Page. Accessed April 13, 2017.
  4. Goldman L, et al., eds. Inflammatory myopathies. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 13, 2017.
  5. Daroff RB, et al. Disorders of skeletal muscle. In: Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 13, 2017.
  6. Miller ML, et al. Treatment of recurrent and resistant dermatomyositis and polymyositis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 13, 2017.
  7. Miller ML, et al. Initial treatment of dermatomyositis and polymyositis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 13, 2017.
  8. Chang-Miller A (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 23, 2017.