Evaluating congenital syphilis in a reverse sequence testing environment

May W. Chen, Ibukunoluwa C. Akinboyo, Paul K. Sue, Pamela K. Donohue, Khalil G. Ghanem, Barbara Detrick, Frank R. Witter, Kathleen R. Page, Ravit Arav-Boger, W. Christopher Golden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: To examine the effect of maternal reverse-sequence (RS) syphilis screening on management of infants at risk for congenital syphilis (CS) using a standardized approach. Study design: A retrospective study from 2011 to 2014 at an academic medical center using RS testing, involving chemiluminescent immunoassay (CIA), rapid plasma reagin (RPR), and fluorescent treponemal antibody-absorption (FTA-ABS) assays for syphilis. Clinical management and outcomes of infants born to mothers with discordant (CIA+/RPR−/FTA+) serology were compared with national or internal guidelines. Results: Sixty-three infants were classified as discordant (n = 21), presumed false positive (CIA+/RPR−/FTA−; n = 16), or true positive (CIA+/RPR+; n = 26) based on maternal serology. Only 24% of cases in the discordant group underwent recommended full evaluation. None of the evaluated infants in the discordant group (n = 8) were diagnosed with CS. Conclusions: Management of infants with discordant maternal RS serology remained reliant on clinical judgment. In our high-risk population, RS testing did not identify additional cases of CS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)956-963
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluating congenital syphilis in a reverse sequence testing environment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Chen, M. W., Akinboyo, I. C., Sue, P. K., Donohue, P. K., Ghanem, K. G., Detrick, B., Witter, F. R., Page, K. R., Arav-Boger, R., & Golden, W. C. (2019). Evaluating congenital syphilis in a reverse sequence testing environment. Journal of Perinatology, 39(7), 956-963. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41372-019-0387-9