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VDRL test: What it is and its Normal Range

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The best practices for medical diagnosis can serve as lifesavers for various health conditions. One of the most critical health conditions is sexually transmitted infections or STIs. Timely detection of STIs is important for avoiding the severe consequences of venereal diseases.  

The VDRL test, or Venereal Disease Research Laboratory test, is a diagnostic tool for determining the presence of syphilis infections. Lack of timely treatment for syphilis could result in damage to vital organs and death. Let us find out how VDRL testing can help detect syphilis in the early stage.

Understanding the VDRL Test

The VDRL diagnosis is one of the three nontreponemal tests for the detection of syphilis. It is important to note that nontreponemal tests are not focused on syphilis alone and could lead to false-positive results. Therefore, VDRL is only applicable for confirming the presence of syphilis infection.

Doctors would have to use treponemal tests specific to syphilis to confirm the infection. How does the VDRL testing procedure work? Here is a brief description of the important steps involved in the VDRL testing process.

Working on VDRL Test

The general assumption about VDRL testing is that it uses blood samples only. However, doctors can recommend testing of the cerebral spinal fluid or CSF in the case of doubts regarding how advanced the syphilis infection is.

The primary cause of syphilis infections is the Treponema pallidum bacteria, which incites the immune system to produce antibodies. The VDRL test measures the presence of antibodies in the patient’s blood or cerebral spinal fluid. Lab technicians would add a colorless alcoholic solution or reagin to the blood or CSF and wait for the reaction.

If the sample shows signs of clumping, it proves the presence of syphilis infection. The clumping in the sample happens due to an agglutination reaction between the reagin and antigens produced due to infection.

How Can You Measure Results of a VDRL Test?

The most helpful aspect of the VDRL testing procedure is that you can find results in terms of positive or negative only. Negative test results imply that the patient’s blood sample does not have any evidence of syphilis infection. On the other hand, positive results in the VDRL test indicate that the patient may have syphilis. Doctors would confirm the infection by using the FTA-ABS or Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody Absorption test.

What Are the False Positives in VDRL Testing?

The VDRL testing procedure results are sensitive and vary significantly according to the stage of infection. However, the following health conditions can also result in false positive results.

  • HIV
  • Malaria
  • Pneumonia
  • Lyme disease
  • Autoimmune conditions

Are You Ready to Go for VDRL Testing?

The clarity regarding the fundamentals of VDRL testing offers an effective tool for choosing the diagnosis procedure for syphilis infection. However, patients must select trusted testing clinics with comprehensive facilities for testing and treatment. Search for the most reliable experts who can offer you immediate medical consultation for diagnosis and treatment.

Read Other Health Articles: Hemoglobin test – Procedure, When is it required, and Results

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