Rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test

A test used to screen asymptomatic individuals for syphilis, diagnose symptomatic infection, and monitor disease activity and response

Looks for non-specific antibodies in the blood of the patient that may indicate that the organism Treponema pallidum that causes syphilis is present.

The term “reagin” means that this test does not look for antibodies against the actual bacterium, but rather for antibodies against substances released by cells when they are damaged by T. pallidum.

These antibodies also cross-react with a purified mixture of lipids, cardiolipin, lecithin, and cholesterol, known as “reagin,” which is used as the substrate in the RPR test.

The RPR is a simplified version of the other nonspecific screening test for syphilis, the VDRL test.

The RPR card test uses a mixture of reagin and carbon particles to which a patient’s serum is added, and the clumping, of the particles is read as a reactive or positive test.

False positive results seen in infectious, autoimmune and malignancies and in the antiphospholipid syndrome.

is an effective screening test for syphilis.

False positives can be seen in viral infections such as Epstein-Barr, hepatitis, varicella, measles, lymphoma, tuberculosis, malaria, endocarditis, connective tissue disease, pregnancy, autoimmune diseases, intravenous drug abuse, or contamination.

May occur naturally in the elderly.

Screening tests should always be followed up by more specific tests including Treponema pallidum hemagglutination assay (TPHA) and Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody Absorption (FTA-ABS).

Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody Absorption Test is the most specific test for syphilis.

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