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Epic Code LAB207 VDRL, Spinal Fluid

Additional Codes

Mayo Code: VDSF

Epic Code: LAB 207

Cerner Code: 8535

Performing Laboratory

Mayo Clinic Laboratories in Rochester

Useful For

Aiding in the diagnosis of neurosyphilis

Specimen Type

Laboratory Test Directory Note:

Lab Central Staff: All CSF specimens to Hematology first.

Specimen Required

Collection Container/Tube: Sterile vial

Submission Container/Tube: Plastic vial

Specimen Volume: 0.5 mL

Specimen Minimum Volume

0.2 mL

Specimen Stability Information

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

Reject Due To

Gross hemolysis Reject
Gross lipemia Reject


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

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 (CSF) 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.

Method Name


Report Available

1 to 3 days

Reporting Name


Reference Values


Reference values apply to all ages.


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.

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)

Day(s) Performed

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

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

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

Reflex Tests

Test ID Reporting Name Available Separately Always Performed