CSF-VDRL testVenereal disease research laboratory slide test - CSF
The CSF-VDRL test is used to help diagnose neurosyphilis. It looks for substances called antibodies, which are sometimes produced by the body in reaction to the syphilis-causing bacteria.
How the Test is Performed
Sample of spinal fluid is needed
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collection is a test to look at the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. CSF acts as a cushion, protecting the b...
How to Prepare for the Test
Follow the health care provider's instructions on how to prepare for this test.
Why the Test is Performed
The CSF-VDRL test is done to diagnose syphilis in the brain or spinal cord. Brain and spinal cord involvement is often a sign of late-stage syphilis.
The VDRL test is a screening test for syphilis. It measures substances (proteins), called antibodies, that your body may produce if you have come in...
RPR (rapid plasma reagin) is a screening test for syphilis. It looks for antibodies that are present in the blood of people who may have the disease...
A negative result is normal.
False-negatives can occur. This means you can have syphilis even if this test is normal. Therefore, a negative test does not always rule out the infection. Other signs and tests may be used to diagnose neurosyphilis.
Neurosyphilis is a bacterial infection of the brain or spinal cord. It usually occurs in people who have had untreated syphilis for many years....
What Abnormal Results Mean
A positive result is abnormal and is a sign of neurosyphilis.
LaSala PR, Smith MB. Spirochete infections. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 59.
Radolf JD, Tramont EC, Salazar JC. Syphilis (Treponema pallidum). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 239.
CSF test for syphilis - illustration
Venereal disease research laboratory test (VDRL) of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is used to screen for syphilis. CSF is a clear fluid that circulates in the space surrounding the spinal cord.
CSF test for syphilis
Review Date: 9/10/2015
Reviewed By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.