Medical Definition of Test, fluorescent treponemal antibody absorbed

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Reviewed on 9/7/2018

Test, fluorescent treponemal antibody absorbed: A blood serum screening test for syphilis designed to demonstrate the presence or absence of specific antibodies directed against the organism (Treponema pallidum) responsible for syphilis.

The fluorescent treponemal antibody absorbed (FTA-ABS) test detects the majority but not all cases of the disease. It is thus a way of screening for the disease.

A negative FTA-ABS test result is consistent with a person not having syphilis. However, a person may have a negative FTA-ABS test result while in the early (primary) and late (tertiary) stages of the disease. In the middle (secondary) stage of syphilis, the FTA-ABS test is most reliable and is reportedly positive in 100% of cases.

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Reviewed on 9/7/2018