What is the Vectra DA Blood Test?

Blood Test Assesses Disease Activity in Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Vectra DA is a blood test that measures disease activity in people already diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is NOT used to diagnose RA. In addition to tracking disease activity, Vectra DA may "predict flare and sustained remission in patients discontinuing treatment, as well as treatment response to biologic and non-biologic therapies," according to research presented at the 2016 annual meeting of EULAR (European League Against Rheumatism).

blood test tube
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Purpose of Test

Your doctor may order a Vectra DA test for you:

  • If you're taking DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) or biologic drugs and your medications aren't working well enough
  • To assess your future risk of joint damage
  • To decide whether you should discontinue a medication

Developed by Crescendo Bioscience, Vectra DA looks at multiple biomarkers in your blood to create a picture of RA disease activity. A biomarker is a molecule in the body that can be objectively measured and evaluated via a simple blood test.

The Vectra DA test measures levels of 12 key proteins associated with RA and compiles them into a single score between one and 100. A lower score indicates less disease activity. This can help you and your doctors see how your disease is progressing and how well your medication is working so you can make informed treatment decisions.

VECTRA DA'S 12 BIOMARKERS
VCAM-1 Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 Marker of interactions between cells, blood vessels, and connective tissue in the joint that can contribute to the build up of inflammatory cells
EGF Epidermal growth factor Promotes cell growth and inflammation in joints affected by RA
VEGF-A Vascular endothelial growth factor Contributes to blood vessel formation, fluid buildup, and bone erosion in inflamed joints
IL-6 Interleukin 6 Drives inflammation, cartilage deterioration, and bone erosion associated with RA
TNF-R1 Tumor necrosis factor receptor, type 1 A receptor for the molecule TNF-alpha, which drives joint inflammation and destruction
MMP-1 Matrix matalloproteinase-1 or collagenase-1 Contributes to cartilage destruction in RA
MMP-3 Matrix matalloproteinase-3 or stomelysin-1 Destroys components of cartilage
YKL-40 -- Helps regulate tissue remodeling and destruction
Leptin -- Contributes to inflammation, regulates bone remodeling
Resistin -- Contributes to inflammation, controls bone remodeling
SAA Serum amyloid Produced in response to inflammation
CRP C-reactive protein Produced in response to inflammation

Before the Test

Before getting the test, make sure your doctor knows about all medications you're taking, any current infections, and any recent surgeries, as they may affect your results.

Timing

The blood draw for the Vectra DA test shouldn't take more than a few minutes. If you're going to a lab or other facility specifically for the test, it's always a good idea to call ahead and check on wait times.

Location

Vectra DA testing is typically done at doctor's offices and medical labs. Your doctor's office can tell you where your test will be performed.

What to Wear

Blood will be drawn from your arm, so be sure to wear short sleeves or sleeves that can easily be rolled up well past your elbow.

Food and Drink

You shouldn't need to fast before a Vectra DA test. If your doctor has ordered multiple tests to be done at the same time, you may be given instructions about limiting food and drink beforehand. Always follow the instructions given to you by your doctor's office and/or testing facility.

If you tend to get nauseous when your blood is drawn, you may want to eat bland food or stick to small meals earlier in the day.

Staying hydrated can make a blood draw easier to perform, which can lead to less discomfort for you.

What to Bring

When you arrive for your test, make sure you have:

  • Your insurance card
  • Cash or card to pay any copays that may be required
  • Proper identification, such as a driver's license or state-issued ID card
  • Any written orders your doctor may have given you
  • The name of the doctor who ordered the test
  • A water bottle to ensure that you're hydrated

You may also want to have something to read or occupy your time in case of a long wait.

Cost and Health Insurance

The Vectra DA test costs around $1,000, but you have options for reducing the amount you have to pay.

First, check with your insurance company or program to see whether the Vectra DA test is covered and to what extent. Medicare and Medicaid fully cover two Vectra DA tests per year with no out-of-pocket expenses.

If you have no coverage or inadequate coverage, Crescendo Bioscience has a financial assistance program that may help. The company's website claims that 70% of people tested pay nothing and more than 95% of patients pay $90 or less. Visit the website or call 1-877-RHEUMDX (1-877-743-8639) to learn about financial assistance.

During the Test

The procedure for a Vectra DA test is the same as for any blood test. Your blood may be drawn by a phlebotomist, a nurse, or another type of medical technician.

Pre-Test

Before the test, you'll likely be asked to verify your name and date of birth, and possibly other identifying information and what test your getting. This is to help avoid errors.

Let the person drawing your blood know if you have a bleeding disorder or a history of negative reactions so they can take measures to help you.

Throughout the Test

The person drawing your blood will have you roll up your sleeve if necessary. Then they'll tie an elastic band around your arm to get your veins plump with blood. You may be asked to clench or pump your fist.

Once a suitable vein is identified, they'll clean the area with rubbing alcohol, insert the needle, and extract a tube of blood. Once enough is collected, they'll withdraw the needle and bandage the site to help prevent further bleeding.

Post-Test

Once the test is over, you're free to go.

If you get dizzy or nauseous, let someone know. They may have you lie down until you feel better.

After the Test

Most people come through a blood draw with no ill effects. If you have soreness or swelling at the injection site, an over-the-counter pain reliever and/or an ice pack may help.

If you have signs of infection at the injection site or any other problems after the test, call your doctor.

Interpreting Results

The facility where your blood was drawn will send the sample to the Crescendo Bioscience lab for analysis. The company says your doctor will receive your results in about a week.

You may be able to access your test result at VectraScore.com, and your doctor may contact you with the results via phone, mail, email, or online patient portal.

The test results will be in the form of a number between one and 100.

VECTRA DA RESULTS
1-29 Low disease activity
30-44 Moderate disease activity
45-100 High disease activity

Follow-Up

Depending on your test results, your doctor may want you to schedule an appointment to talk about changes in your medications, other treatment options, or your risk of future joint damage.

If you have questions about your results or aren't contacted by your doctor's office, give them a call.

A Word From Verywell

The Vectra DA test can help you and your doctor make treatment decisions and give you important information about the course of your rheumatoid arthritis. It's one of many tools you and your medical team have as you work together to control your disease and maintain your function and quality of life.

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Article Sources
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  1. Hirata S, Tang S, Hwang C, et al. FRI0096 Predictive Value of The Multi-Biomarker Disease Activity (MBDA) Score for Flare and Sustained Remission in The Honor Study. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 2016;75:462.

  2. Segurado OG, Sasso EH. Vectra DA for the objective measurement of disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2014;32(5 Suppl 85):S-29-34.