Virginia Gov Portal Skip to main content
Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services

SYPHILIS VENEREAL DISEASE RESEARCH LABORATORY (VDRL)

Laboratory: Immunology/Virology

Test Description: The Venereal Disease Research Laboratory testing (VDRL ) method uses a non-treponemal antigen (cholesterol particles coated with cardiolipin-lecithin) to detect reagin. When cardiolipin- lecithin particles are mixed with heat inactivated serum or non-heated cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) obtained from syphilitic patients, flocculation occurs. This flocculation is microscopically visualized as clumping, and the extent of the clumping will determine whether the result is reported as nonreactive, weakly reactive, or reactive. A weakly reactive or reactive result is an indicator that the patient may have syphilis and further treponemal specific tests should be employed.

Order Approval Required? Yes

Specimen Type: The preferred specimen is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)

Collection Container: Red top, no additive.

Optimal Volume: 200 ul required

Collection Guidelines: Coagulated blood (no anticoagulant), serum, and CSF are the only acceptable specimens for this assay.
3 ml of serum, 7 ml of blood (no anticoagulant), or 1 ml of CSF are the
optimal volumes for testing. 200 μl of any specimen types are required.

Storage Container: Samples should be stored at 2-8 °C for 5 days and -20 °C thereafter.

Storage Instructions: Samples should be stored at 2-8 °C for 5 days after collection. Serum may be aliquotted and stored at 2-8 °C for shipping or frozen at -20°C or colder.

Transportation Instructions: Samples may be shipped at on cold packs

Test Methodology: Flocculation via Venereal Disease Research Laboratory testing (VDRL)

Additional Information:

Causes For Rejection:

  • Improperly labeled
  • Grossly hemolyzed, lipemic, or bloody
  • Apparent contamination or particulate matter present
  • Quantity not sufficient for testing
  • Improperly stored
  • Sample out of holding time for testing

Possible Results: non-reactive, weakly reactive, or reactive, titer is reported at which strongest reactivity is seen