What is VDRL?
VDRL, also known as Venereal Disease Research Laboratory test is a form of medical diagnosis performed to determine the presence of syphilis. This screening test basically looks for the presence of reagins, the antibodies produced by Treponema pallidum. These are substances produced by the body as a reaction to the syphilis-causing bacteria in the body.
In order to have a clearer knowledge of the test, it is vital to learn what syphilis is all about and why the need for VDRL. Syphilis is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria produced by Treponema pallidum. It contagiously spread through mucous membranes and broken skin or by sexual contact. Pregnant women who are infected by syphilis are most likely to pass the ailment to their unborn child.
VDRL is performed in order to properly and accurately diagnose the disease and to find the right treatment. Syphilis infection is highly treatable and screening for this infection is considered a routine prenatal care for pregnant women. In preparation for the test, patients are first given the overview about the procedure along with the potential risks that the test may result to before signing the consent form.
The procedure is done to find out if there is infection in the spinal cord or brain. Blood screening tests such as VDRL is actually performed during the secondary or middle stage of the infection. However, when there is already involvement of the infected brain or spinal cord, this is referred to as late stage or tertiary syphilis which may be more difficult to diagnose and treat.
VDRL is a form of medical diagnosis imperative to undergo for effective treatment of syphilis. Nevertheless, it also has potential risks since different patients have varying vein and artery sizes. Some of the risks of the procedure include excessive bleeding, hematoma or blood accumulation under the skin, infection and fainting among others.