VDRL test is recommended when a patient shows signs and symptoms of syphilis. Early symptoms include sores, skin rashes that don’t itch, and swollen lymph nodes.
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Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) test is a diagnostic screening test done to assess the development of syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease. This test screens for antibodies that are produced by T. pallidum in blood or other body fluids. The test is done using blood samples taken through venipuncture.
VDRL test is highly sensitive and checks for the antibodies produced during a syphilis infection and hence is not dependent on the symptoms. Other tests are often performed to confirm the diagnosis of syphilis. The normal values of the test vary with different laboratories.
Why the VDRL test is advised?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that is primarily spread through genital contact. It cannot be transmitted by using the same utensils and other stuff. Syphilis is caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. These bacteria penetrate the lining of the mouth or genital area. Syphilis has four stages, depending upon the severity of the infection.
Depending upon the stage and progression of the infection, a sample is collected. Most commonly, a blood sample is collected to determine antibodies. Cerebrospinal fluid is used as a sample to check the brain’s involvement in the latent stage of the disease. If a syphilis sore is present, a sample is collected by scraping the sore in the affected area.
VDRL test is a simple, efficient, and sensitive test. In this procedure, a blood sample is taken through venipuncture. The blood sample is then tested for anticardiolipin antibodies to check for syphilis. The results of the VDLR test can take at healthcare nt sickcare up to 3-5 hours.
VDRL test is recommended when a patient shows signs and symptoms of syphilis. Early symptoms include sores, skin rashes that don’t itch, and swollen lymph nodes. However, in certain cases, the VDRL test gives a positive result even when there are no symptoms. VDRL test is also ordered as a part of the pregnancy check-up. It is also recommended if a patient is undergoing treatment for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The VDRL test does not require specific preparations. Stopping medications or fasting is unnecessary. However, it is important to consult your d0ct0r and laboratory technician to be more clear about the test.
VDRL test result
VDRL test is sensitive but is not always accurate. There are chances of false-positive or false-negative results. False-positive results are got when there is other diseases like HIV infection, Lyme disease, malaria, certain types of pneumonia, etc. This test is accurate in the secondary stage and may give false-negative results in the early or late stage of syphilis.
The results are often confirmed with other tests to confirm the diagnosis. Other tests such as Fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption test (FTA-ABS) or Rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test, are ordered after a positive VDRL test. Alongside the VDRL test, HIV test, gonorrhea test, and other STI screening tests are often advised.
What is the RPR Test?
Rapid plasma regain (RPR) is a blood test to screen for syphilis. Antigens used in the RPR test are like VDRL except that they are charcoal coated to enhance the sensitivity of the test. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum. RPR is used as a screening test for Syphilis & for following the progression of disease and response to therapy.
VDRL Blood Test
- Overnight fasting is not required
- Doctor’s prescription may be needed
- Previous Medical History May Be Required
- Inform your doctor prior to the test if you are on medications
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