Free light chain assay, often known as the serum free light chain (SFLC) test, measures the free (unbound) kappa and lambda light chains in the blood. Light chains are small proteins produced by plasma cells, a type of white blood cell. They can combine with heavy chains to form immunoglobulins, or antibodies, which help fight infections. When light chains are produced in excess, they can be found in the blood in a "free" state, unbound to heavy chains.

The balance or ratio of kappa to lambda light chains in the blood (kappa:lambda ratio) can provide valuable information about disorders related to plasma cells, such as multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer. It is also useful in monitoring treatment response and disease progression in these conditions.

Test Name Kappa And Lambda (Free Light Chain Assay), Serum
Sample Type Blood
Preparations Required No specific preparations are needed for this test. The patient should follow the doctor's instructions and maintain their usual diet and medication routine unless otherwise specified by their doctor.
Report Time 4 hours
Price in Hyderabad ₹ 4000

What is the importance of the Free Light Chain Assay?

The Free Light Chain Assay is used to help diagnose and monitor conditions that lead to the production of excessive or abnormal light chains, such as multiple myeloma, AL amyloidosis, and other related disorders.

Is fasting required for the Free Light Chain Assay?

No, fasting is not required for this test.

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What preparation is needed for the Free Light Chain Assay?

No special preparation is required for this test.

When should the Free Light Chain Assay be done?

The Free Light Chain Assay may be ordered when a person has symptoms of a plasma cell disorder such as bone pain, fractures, fatigue, frequent infections, or unexplained weight loss. It can also be done periodically to monitor the progress of the disease and the effectiveness of treatment.

What information does the Free Light Chain Assay provide?

The Free Light Chain Assay provides information about the levels of free kappa and lambda light chains in the blood and the ratio between them, which can help diagnose certain disorders related to plasma cells and assess the severity and progression of these conditions.

How often should the Free Light Chain Assay be conducted?

The frequency of this test will depend on the specific clinical situation. For patients under treatment for plasma cell disorders, the test may be repeated periodically to monitor response to therapy.

What precautions need to be taken?

There are no specific precautions needed for this test, and it carries only the risks associated with a typical blood draw.

What factors can affect the test results?

Factors such as kidney disease, autoimmune conditions, and certain medications can affect the results of the test.

Which doctor should be consulted in case of abnormal Free Light Chain Assay results?

In case of abnormal results, you should consult a hematologist or an oncologist.

What do high levels of free light chains indicate?

High levels of free light chains may indicate a plasma cell disorder, such as multiple myeloma or Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia. However, increased levels can also be seen in other conditions, such as kidney disease.

Can medications affect the test results?

Certain medications might affect the levels of free light chains in your blood. It's important to inform your doctor about all medications you are taking.

What happens if the test shows an abnormal kappa:lambda ratio?

An abnormal kappa:lambda ratio can indicate a plasma cell disorder, such as multiple myeloma or amyloidosis. However, it's crucial to understand that this test is only one piece of the puzzle and further diagnostic tests are often needed to confirm a diagnosis.

Is the Free Light Chain Assay painful?

This test involves a standard blood draw, which might cause minor discomfort and bruising at the injection site.

What is a normal kappa:lambda ratio?

The normal kappa:lambda ratio varies depending on the laboratory, but it typically falls between 0.26 and 1.65.

Can the Free Light Chain Assay be used for early detection of plasma cell disorders?

While the Free Light Chain Assay can detect abnormal levels of light chains in the blood, it's not typically used for early detection or screening. It's most often used when a person has symptoms suggestive of a plasma cell disorder.

The Free Light Chain Assay is a valuable tool in diagnosing and monitoring conditions related to plasma cells, such as multiple myeloma. By measuring the free kappa and lambda light chains in the blood and assessing their ratio, this test can provide key insights into the progression of these disorders and the effectiveness of their treatment. If you have been recommended to undergo this test, ensure that you understand its purpose and potential implications for your health. Always consult with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your results.

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