Rapid Plasma Reagin Test

Blood taken for rapid plasma reagin test

On image: Blood taken for rapid plasma reagin test

RPR (rapid plasma reagin) is a screening test for syphilis. It looks for antibodies that are present in the blood of people who might have the disease.

What Is Rapid Plasma Reagin Test?

The rapid plasma reagin (RPR), RPR titer, RPR test, or Nontreponemal describes a kind of rapid diagnostic test that tries to find non-specific antibodies in the blood of the patient that may indicate a syphilis infection. The term reagin means that this test does not look for antibodies against the actual bacterium, Treponema pallidum, however rather for antibodies versus compounds released by cells when they are damaged by T. pallidum. Typically, syphilis serologic testing has actually been carried out using a NTT such as the RPR or VDRL test, with positive results then confirmed using a particular TT such as TPPA or FTA-ABS.

Rapid plasma reagin test also known as Syphilis screening test.

Rapid Plasma Reagin Test Procedure

  • This test required a blood sample from vein.
  • When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel just a prick or stinging. Afterward, there might be some throbbing or small bruising. This soon goes away.

No special preparation requires for the test.

Why Rapid Plasma Reagin Test is Performed

The RPR test can be used to screen for syphilis. It is used to screen people who have symptoms of sexually transmitted infections and is routinely used to evaluate pregnant women for the disease.

Numerous states likewise need that couples be screened for syphilis before getting a marital relationship license.

The test is likewise used to see how treatment for syphilis is working. After treatment with antibiotics, the levels of syphilis antibodies ought to fall. These levels can be kept track of with another rapid plasma reagin test. Unchanged or increasing levels can mean a persistent infection.

The test is similar to the venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL) test.

Normal Results for Rapid Plasma Reagin Test

An unfavorable test result is considered normal. However, the body does not always produce antibodies specifically in reaction to the syphilis bacteria, so the test is not always precise. False-negatives might happen in people with early- and late-stage syphilis. More screening may be needed prior to ruling out syphilis.

What Is Abnormal Rapid Plasma Reagin Test?

What abnormal results of RPR test mean? A positive test outcome might indicate that you have syphilis. If the screening test is positive, the next action is to confirm the medical diagnosis with a more particular test for syphilis, such as FTA-ABS. The FTA-ABS test will help distinguish between syphilis and other infections or conditions.

How well the RPR test can identify syphilis depends on the stage of the infection. The test is most sensitive (practically 100%) during the middle stages of syphilis. It is less sensitive during the earlier and later stages of the infection.

Some conditions might cause a false-positive test, including:

  • Pregnancy
  • Tuberculosis (TB).
  • IV substance abuse
  • Lyme disease
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus and some other autoimmune conditions
  • Malaria
  • Certain types of pneumonia

Risks Associated with RPR Test

There is little risk involved with having your blood taken. Veins and arteries vary in size from one person to another and from one side of the body to the other. Taking blood from some people may be harder than from others.

Other risks connected with having actually blood drawn are minor, but might include:

  • Excessive bleeding after rapid plasma reagin test.
  • Passing out or feeling lightheaded.
  • Hematoma (blood collecting under the skin).
  • Infection (a minor risk any time the skin is broken).

Last modified: October 15, 2017

References

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