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Definition of «Fluorescent treponemal antibody absorbed test»

Fluorescent treponemal antibody absorbed test

Fluorescent treponemal antibody absorbed test: A blood serum screening test for syphilis designed to demonstrate the presence or absence of specific antibodies directed against the organism (Treponema pallidum) responsible for syphilis.

The fluorescent treponemal antibody absorbed (FTA-ABS) test detects the majority but not all cases of the disease. It is thus a way of screening for the disease.

A negative FTA-ABS test result is consistent with a person not having syphilis. However, a person may have a negative FTA-ABS test result while in the early (primary) and late (tertiary) stages of the disease. In the middle (secondary) stage of syphilis, the FTA-ABS test is most reliable and is reportedly positive in 100% of cases.

The FTA-ABS test is often used as a confirmatory test after first screening a patient with a VDRL (Venereal Disease Research Laboratory) or RPR (rapid plasma reagin) test, since the FTA-ABS test is more expensive and time-consuming than "non-treponemal" syphilis tests such as the VDRL and RPR.

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