Test Catalog

Interpretive Handbook

Test 9028 :
VDRL, Spinal Fluid

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

The Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) is a nontreponemal serologic test for syphilis that uses a cardiolipin-cholesterol-lecithin antigen to detect reaginic antibodies.


The presence of neurosyphilis in untreated patients can be detected by the presence of pleocytosis, elevated protein, and a positive VDRL.

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Aiding in the diagnosis of neurosyphilis

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

A positive Venereal Disease Research Laboratories (VDRL) on spinal fluid is highly specific for neurosyphilis.


Positive results will be titered.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

The Venereal Disease Research Laboratories (VDRL) on spinal fluid gives a high percentage of false-negatives.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.


Clinical References Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature

Miller JN: Value and limitations of nontreponemal and treponemal tests in the laboratory diagnosis of syphilis. Clin Obstet Gynecol 1975;18:191-203

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