Angiotensin Converting Enzyme

Other names: ACE; Serum Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (SACE)

ACE is an enzyme that helps to regulate blood pressure; it is manufactured by endothelial cells and is found in cells throughout the body. It is most concentrated in the lungs. The enzyme converts angiotensin I into angiotensin II; angiotensin II helps to compress the arteries, which increases the pressure of the blood running through them.

Why would I need the test?

The ACE test is usually used to test for sarcoidosis, which is a condition that mainly affects the lungs but can also affect the eyes, liver and skin. The ACE test helps doctors to diagnose sarcoidosis from other health conditions, which may cause similar symptoms.

When is the test recommended?

Doctors usually advise patients to have the ACE test if they experience symptoms of sarcoidosis, such as granulomas (nodules that are caused by inflammation; they are usually a result of an infection), a persistent cough and watery, irritated, red eyes.

The test is also used to monitor patients who have already been diagnosed with sarcoidosis.

How is the test performed?

The test is performed by taking a sample of blood from a vein in the arm; usually, the sample is taken from the inside of the elbow. A needle is inserted into a vein and the sample is collected in a syringe, which is attached to the needle. Once the sample has been collected, it will be bottled, labelled and sent off to the laboratory for analysis.

What do the test results mean?

High levels of ACE may indicate sarcoidosis; however, the results of the test alone cannot be used to reach an accurate diagnosis as some people with sarcoidosis have normal levels of ACE. If a patient has high levels of ACE and symptoms associated with sarcoidosis, then they are likely to have the condition but further tests may be carried out.

Slightly increased ACE levels may be caused by health conditions including HIV, lymphoma, tuberculosis and hyperthyroidism.

Decreased levels of ACE may be caused by health conditions including cystic fibrosis, emphysema, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Specific Blood Tests

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