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Test ID: VDSF VDRL, Spinal Fluid

Reporting Name


Useful For

Aiding in the diagnosis of neurosyphilis

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.

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.

Report Available

1 to 4 days

Day(s) Performed

Monday through 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

Method Name


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.

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
Mayo Clinic Laboratories | Neurology Catalog Additional Information:

mml-Behavioral, mml-CNS-Infections, mml-Neuromuscular, mml-Pediatric, mml-Spinal-Cord