The development of sensitive methods for alloantibody detection has been a significant advance in clinical transplantation. However, the complexity of the data from solid phase and crossmatch assays has led to potential confusion about how to use the results for clinical decision making. The goal of this review is to provide a practical guide for transplant physicians for the interpretation of antibody data to supplement consultation with local tissue typing experts. Sources of variability in both the solid phase and crossmatch assay are discussed as are recent data regarding C1q binding antibodies and IgG subclass testing. Although definitive approaches to alloantibody testing are not possible with our current knowledge, we outline a pragmatic approach that we hope will enhance clinical management in this area.
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