Syphilis – tertiary

Alternative Names

Late syphilis; Tertiary syphilis

Definition of Syphilis – tertiary

Tertiary syphilis is a late phase of the sexually transmitted disease syphilis, caused by the spirochete .

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted, infectious disease caused by the spirochete .

Symptoms

Symptoms of tertiary syphilis depend on which organ systems have been affected. They vary widely and are difficult to diagnose. In individuals with tertiary syphilis, the primary and secondary stages of syphilis usually have been long forgotten. Medical findings of aortic aneurysms and neurological problems require astute diagnostic ability to link them to syphilis. Some of the symptomatic problems are listed below.

Signs and tests

VDRL or RPR blood tests are used as screening tests. If they are positive, one of the following is needed to confirm the diagnosis of syphilis:

Treatment

The treatment of syphilis is determined by the length of time the person has been infected.

Expectations (prognosis)

Late syphilis may be permanently disabling and may lead to death.

Review

Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Maternal & Child Health Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine; Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/1/2008

Late-stage syphilis
Antibodies

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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