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VDRL false positive test: What are the causes of this?

VDRL false positive test: What are the causes of this?
FB Dr Soarawee
Soarawee Weerasopone, MD

Minimally Invasive Uro-Oncologist
Royal Phnom Penh hospital, Kingdom of Cambodia

VDRL test or Venereal Disease Research Laboratory test is a very common syphilis screening test which physicians currently using for all over the world. Due to an easily accessible even the patients themselves can find this either test at local laboratory nearby their home without consulting with experts before drawing blood sampling from their vein. The problem will be occurred when VDRL turn positive without any suspicious of syphilis infection, we called this incident “Biological false positive” or BFP reaction. With this thing the result seems to be horrifying the patients by an affecting their mentally and daily performance. Today we will discuss on this BFP phenomenon.

VDRL false positive test: What are the causes of this?
The patients who experience with this problem will affect their mentally and daily performance.

BFP phenomenon has been reported around 1 – 2 % of an incidence. BFP usually showing out in a low dilutions (<1:8) and here are the possibilities of BFP phenomenon.

Causes of VDRL False positive phenomenon.

  1. The reliability of laboratory you get tested
    • A wrong interpretation from unwell-trained technicians is the first thing we must consider or suspect.
VDRL false positive test: What are the causes of this?
The reliability of laboratory you get tested is the first issue we must consider.
  1. Presenting of autoimmune diseases
    • SLE or Systemic Lupus Erythematous
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
  2. Febrile illness
    • Malaria
    • Tuberculosis
    • Filariasis
  3. Pregnancy
VDRL false positive test: What are the causes of this?
VDRL fasle positive test sometimes can be detected in Pregnancy.
  1. Recent immunization
  2. Aging
  3. Drug addiction
  4. Liver disease
  5. Malignancy
VDRL false positive test: What are the causes of this?
Recent vaccination (any kinds) is another important history taking when VDRL false positive test is considered.

Once BFP phenomenon is suspected, a very carefully history taking, and the proper investigation must be done for any clarifying on what is the real cause of BFP phenomenon. It would be recommended to retest VDRL again at 10 weeks which is the most cases will turn nonreactive at the period of time. Any questions, you can discuss with your trusted physicians, or it would be my honor if you can text me. Take care!

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