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Lab Manual for UCSF Clinical Laboratories

Lab Manual for SFGH

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Item Value
Available Stat? No
Test code CSVD
Performed by? Microbiology
Sendout? no
Price range $
In House Availability test run two times each week, Monday and Thursday.
Principle The Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) test is a microflocculation, non-treponemal antibody test for syphilis that uses an antigen containing cardiolipin, lecithin and cholesterol. The test detects "reagin," antiphospholipid antibodies present in persons with syphilis. The VDRL test is the only standard test for syphilis recommended for use with cerebrospinal fluid. Titers are done on reactive specimens.

Note: The RPR non-treponemal antibody test and specific treponemal antibody tests, such as the TP-PA, are not standardized for testing CSF.
Interpretation A reactive VDRL test result on CSF that is free of blood almost always indicates past or present syphilis infection of the central nervous system. False positive VDRL test results are rare in CSF.

A nonreactive VDRL test on CSF may indicate that the patient does not have neurosyphilis. However, a negative result can occur in some neurosyphilis patients. Nonspecific changes in the CSF of neurosyphilis patients include an increase in total protein and an increased cell count.

The sensitivity and specificity of the VDRL test in CSF have been reported as 50% and 99.8%, respectively.
Amount to Collect 0.5 mL (minimum 0.2 mL)
Sample type CSF
Normal range nonreactive
Synonyms Syphilis Testing;Venereal Disease Reference Laboratory Test for Syphilis on CSF;
Stability 5 days at 4°C.
References Kennedy, Jr., E.J. and Creighton ET. Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) Slide Tests. Chapter 8, pp 159-178. In: Larsen SA, Pope, V., Johnson, R.E., and Kennedy, Jr., E.J., Eds. A Manual of Tests for Syphilis, 9th Ed. Amer. Public Health Assoc. Washington, DC, 1998.
CPT coding 86592
Last Updated 4/7/2011 4:48:27 PM
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