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EPIC CODE: LAB207 VDRL, Spinal Fluid

Additional Codes

Sunquest:   SFVDRM
Mayo:          VDSF
Previously:  ARUP 0050206

Reporting Name


Useful For

Aiding in the diagnosis of neurosyphilis

Performing Laboratory

Mayo Clinic Laboratories in Rochester

Specimen Type


Specimen Required

Collection Container/Tube: Sterile vial

Submission Container/Tube: Plastic vial

Specimen Volume: 0.5 mL

Collection Instructions: Submit specimen collected in vial 2, if possible. If not, note which vial from which the aliquot was obtained.

Specimen Minimum Volume

0.2 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
CSF Frozen (preferred) 14 days
  Refrigerated  14 days

Reference Values


Reference values apply to all ages.

Day(s) Performed

Monday through Friday

Test Classification

This test has been cleared, approved, or is exempt by the US Food and Drug Administration and is used per manufacturer's instructions. Performance characteristics were verified by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements.

CPT Code Information


LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
9028 VDRL, CSF 5290-2

Clinical Information

VDRL is a nontreponemal serologic test for syphilis that uses a cardiolipin-cholesterol-lecithin antigen to detect reaginic antibodies. The VDRL test performed on cerebrospinal fluid can be used to diagnose neurosyphilis in patients with a prior history of syphilis infection.


The presence of neurosyphilis in untreated patients can be detected by the presence of pleocytosis, elevated protein, and a positive VDRL.


A positive VDRL result on spinal fluid is highly specific for neurosyphilis.


A single negative VDRL result should not be used to exclude neurosyphilis and repeat testing on a new specimen may be necessary.


Positive results will be titered.


VDRL testing on spinal fluid gives a high percentage of false-negative results.

Clinical Reference

1. Miller JN: Value and limitations of nontreponemal and treponemal tests in the laboratory diagnosis of syphilis. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 1975 Mar;18(1):191-203

2. Radolf JD, Tramont EC, Salazar JC: Syphilis (Treponema pallidum). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Elsevier; 2020:2865-2892

Method Description

VDRL antigen and spinal fluid are mixed on a 180 RPM rotator. The antigen, a cardiolipin-lecithin coated cholesterol particle, flocculates in the presence of reagin.(US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, National Communicable Diseases Center, Venereal Disease Program: Manual of Tests for Syphilis. Centers for Disease Control; 1969; Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Elsevier; 2020)

Report Available

1 to 4 days

Specimen Retention Time

14 days

Reject Due To

Gross hemolysis Reject
Gross lipemia Reject

NY State Approved


Method Name


Reflex Tests

Test ID Reporting Name Available Separately Always Performed

Testing Algorithm

If this test is positive, a VDRL titer will be performed at an additional charge.


For more information, see Meningitis/Encephalitis Panel Algorithm.

UnityPoint Health Peoria Additional Information:


  • VDRL CSF Reflex to Titer
  • VDRLCSF Titer Reflex
  • VDRL, Spinal Fluid