Diagnosis of non-infectious complications

The earlier the non-infectious complications, such as autoimmunity, allergy, granulomatous disease and cancer, in primary immunodeficiency are picked up and diagnosed the better. This ensures appropriate and timely treatment is given, and helps to improve health outcomes. So an awareness and understanding of these conditions is important. You can do your part by alerting your healthcare team to any worsening of your health or any new problems you may have developed.

When you see the doctor he/she will want to know what your symptoms are and how they affect your health. This is referred to as taking a clinical history. The doctor will be particularly interested in any newly developing symptoms. These provide useful clues for doctors to help in their investigations and diagnosis. The doctor will also want to carry out a full physical examination. Depending on the particular disease complication you may have, the doctor may decide to do some further tests.

Some of the tests you may expect can include:

  • Culture of sputum or fluids. This is important because the doctor needs to first of all rule out if the problems are caused by an underlying infection or not
  • Blood tests
  • Urine/stool tests
  • Imaging/radiology. These include X-rays, ultrasound, CT/MRI scans
  • Biopsy of affected tissues
  • Pulmonary function tests. These are breathing tests that help find out if your lungs are working well
  • Skin tests. These are most useful for the diagnosis of allergy.

This page was reviewed by the Medical Advisory Panel, April 2018.