Fluorescent treponemal antibody absorbtion (FTA-ABS) test

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List of terms related to Fluorescent treponemal antibody absorbtion (FTA-ABS) test

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Overview

FTA-ABS is a treponemal test for Syphilis. Using antibodies specific for the Treponema pallidum species, such tests are more specific than Non-Treponemal testing such as VDRL.

FTA (Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody) - ABS (Absorption) should always be followed to confirm a positve RPR and/or VDRL test for syphilis. The ABS suffix refers particularly to a processing step used to remove nonspecific antispirochetal antibodies present in normal serum.

This test is not useful for following therapy, because it does not wane with successful treatment of the disease, and will continue to be positive for the life of the patient after primary exposure.

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