Syphilis (RPR + FTA-ABS)

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The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Fluorescent Treponemal Antigen, FTAABS, Syphilis, Treponemal pallidum


Also known as: RPR Monitor with Reflex to Titer, Syphilis

Rpr (Monitor)

RPR (rapid plasma reagin) is a screening test for syphilis. It looks for antibodies that are present in the blood of people who have the disease.
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The Syphilis (RPR + FTA-ABS) panel contains 2 tests with 2 biomarkers.

Brief Description: The Syphilis (RPR + FTA-ABS) panel is a diagnostic tool used to detect and confirm the presence of syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. This panel combines two tests: the RPR (Rapid Plasma Reagin) Screen with Reflex to Titer, and the FTA-ABS (Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody Absorption) test, offering both initial screening and confirmatory diagnosis capabilities.

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When and Why the Syphilis (RPR + FTA-ABS) Panel May Be Ordered

Healthcare providers may order this panel when a patient presents symptoms suggestive of syphilis, such as sores, rashes, or lesions, or as part of routine STI screening, especially in individuals with high-risk sexual behaviors, pregnant women, or those with a partner diagnosed with syphilis. It's also used to monitor the effectiveness of syphilis treatment in diagnosed patients.

What the Syphilis (RPR + FTA-ABS) Panel Checks For

  • RPR Screen with Reflex to Titer: This test detects non-treponemal antibodies that the body produces in response to the cellular damage caused by syphilis. An RPR test is often used for initial screening. If the RPR screen is positive, the test reflexes to a titer to determine the concentration of antibodies present, which can help in assessing the infection's activity and stage.
  • FTA-ABS: The FTA-ABS test is a treponemal test that directly detects antibodies to Treponema pallidum antigens. This test is highly specific and is typically used to confirm a syphilis diagnosis after an initial positive screening test, like the RPR.

Conditions and Diseases Detected by the Syphilis (RPR + FTA-ABS) Panel

This panel is specifically designed to detect syphilis at various stages:

  • Primary Syphilis: Characterized by the appearance of a single or multiple painless ulcers (chancres) at the infection site. The RPR test may be positive at this stage, with confirmation by FTA-ABS.
  • Secondary Syphilis: Marked by a rash, mucous membrane lesions, and flu-like symptoms. Both RPR and FTA-ABS are typically positive in this stage.
  • Latent Syphilis: A stage where the infection is present but without symptoms. The RPR titer can help indicate the infection's activity, with FTA-ABS remaining positive throughout.
  • Tertiary Syphilis: Occurs years after the initial infection, potentially affecting multiple organs. The RPR titer may vary, but FTA-ABS remains positive.

Using the Syphilis (RPR + FTA-ABS) Panel Results in Clinical Practice

Healthcare professionals use this panel for:

  • Diagnosis: Confirming a syphilis diagnosis when symptoms are present or after a positive screening test.
  • Screening: Part of routine STI checks, especially in high-risk groups or pregnant women.
  • Treatment Monitoring: Following RPR titers to monitor treatment effectiveness, with declining titers indicating successful treatment.

The Syphilis (RPR + FTA-ABS) panel is an essential diagnostic tool for detecting and confirming syphilis. By combining the RPR test for initial screening with the highly specific FTA-ABS test for confirmation, healthcare providers can accurately diagnose syphilis and monitor treatment efficacy. Understanding the implications of these test results allows for timely and appropriate treatment, crucial for patient care and public health management of this sexually transmitted infection.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

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