Treponemal (fluorescent treponemal antibody-absorption [FTA-ABS]) and nontreponemal (Venereal Disease Research Laboratory [VDRL] and automated reagin) tests were performed on patients consecutively admitted to a general hospital. The FTA-ABS test was reactive in 16.8% of the patients compared with a 9.5% reactivity rate for the VDRL test. A history of treated or untreated syphilis was obtained in 73 of 78 patients with a reactive FTA-ABS test; in the 5 remaining patients, the diagnosis of syphilis could not definitely be established. An additional 40 (8.6%) patients demonstrated borderline reactivity in the FTA-ABS test. Of these, eight were found to have had syphilis. In the present study, the FTA-ABS test was reactive more often than either the VDRL or the automated reagin tests; however, both the nontreponemal and treponemal tests were reactive in three patients who had previously undetected, untreated syphilis. The results of this study suggest that syphilis should be considered more
Cohen P, Stout G, Ende N. Serologic Reactivity in Consecutive Patients Admitted to a General Hospital: A Comparison of the FTA-ABS, VDRL, and Automated Reagin Tests. Arch Intern Med. 1969;124(3):364–367. doi:10.1001/archinte.1969.00300190104017
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