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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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    Pregnant with a positive result for VDRL. TPHA negative. What is the reason for VDRL positive? Any further tests?

Hi Doctor, I am 8 weeks pregnant.Yesterday I had my VDRL test and the result came positive after I had TPHA for confirming the same and the result came negative. My doctor said that there is nothing to worry about and I am perfectly alright. Could you please advise me the reason for my positive VDRL. Is there any further tests to be done ?
Fri, 20 Jul 2012
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General & Family Physician 's  Response
hello and welcome to healthcare magic, congrats on your pregnancy.
VDRL and TPHA tests are both used to check for syphilis. The VDRL is generally done first because it is a screening test. It checks to see if certain antibodies ( chemicals that can be found in some cases in the blood) reacts with the ingredients in the test. These chemicals are released into the blood if the cells become damaged which can happen in syphilis however there are other circumstances that can cause a FALSE POSITIVE VDRL result ( the test is positive but the person does not have the disease). The conditions that cause FALSE POSITIVE VDRL results include PREGNANCY, certain viruses, lupus, rheumatic fever or rheumatic arthritis.
The TPHA test would check for antibodies in the body specific to syphilis and is used as a confirmatory test. If a person had syphilis this would be positive and generally remains positive for all of the person's life.
Your VDRL may have been falsely positive because of your pregnancy and the negative TPHA should be reassuring to you. You can speak to your doctor regarding any further questions.
I hope the rest of your pregnancy is uneventful and that you have a beautiful healthy baby.
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