A comparative study of 105 patients with borderline serum fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption (FTA-ABS) test results and 50 patients with nonreactive serum FTA-ABS test results was performed. "Syphilitic pupils" were found in 4% of the patients with nonreactive FTA-ABS tests, but in 15% of the borderline group. Optic atrophy was found in 18% of the control group and in 29% of the borderline group. Optic neuritis was present in 2% of the control group, and in 9.5% of the borderline group. The report of a ± nonreactive or borderline FTA-ABS test is significant to the clinician. Not only should the test be repeated, but a careful history should be taken and a complete examination for subtle signs of late ocular and neurosyphilis should be performed.
Seeley RL, Sarkar M, Smith JL. The Borderline Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody Absorption Test Reactor: Neuro-ophthalmological Status. Arch Ophthalmol. 1972;87(1):16–20. doi:10.1001/archopht.1972.01000020018003
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