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Sex Transm Dis. 2016 Dec;43(12):737-740.

Use of Treponemal Screening Assay Strength of Signal to Avoid Unnecessary Confirmatory Testing.

Author information

1
From the Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Our reverse syphilis testing algorithm consists of a treponemal IgG multiplex flow immunoassay (MFI) followed by both rapid plasma reagin titer and the Treponema pallidum particle agglutination (TPPA) test on specimens with a reactive MFI result. We report here the impact of a modified reverse algorithm, in which the strength of signal of the MFI is used to avoid unnecessary TPPA testing.

METHODS:

The Bioplex syphilis IgG MFI was used as the syphilis screening assay, and specimens with equivocal (antibody index 0.9 or 1.0), or reactive (antibody index ≥ 1.1) results were further tested by rapid plasma reagin titer and TPPA test. We performed a retrospective, descriptive analysis of all specimens received for syphilis screening between January and May of 2014. A cost analysis was performed, taking into account labor and reagent expenses.

RESULTS:

In our diverse patient population consisting of high-risk incarcerated persons, low-risk obstetrical/gynecological patients and high-risk miscellaneous clinic and inpatients, 430 (65%) of 665 MFI-positive specimens had antibody indices of 8 or greater. Greater than 99% of these specimens were reactive by the TPPA test. Avoiding TPPA testing of specimens with an MFI antibody index ≥8 would save over US $4800 annually in laboratory costs.

CONCLUSIONS:

The TPPA testing is unnecessary on specimens with MFI antibody indices ≥8. This would substantially reduce the TPPA testing volume and also reduce laboratory expenses.

PMID:
27835625
DOI:
10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000524
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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