TORCH Panel Lab Test

TORCH Panel
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Clinical Definition of TORCH Panel

The TORCH screen is a group of blood tests that check for several different infections in a newborn. TORCH stands for toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, and HIV, but it can also include other newborn infections. TORCH is a medical acronym for a group of infectious diseases that may infect pregnant women and may be passed on to the baby causing birth defects, growth delay, neurological problems or miscarriage. The following tests make up the TORCH panel: T – Toxoplasmosis / Toxoplasma gondiiO – Other infectious agents such as Hepatitis B, Syphilis, Varicella-Zoster Virus, HIV, Parvovirus B19R – RubellaC – CytomegalovirusH – Herpes simplex virus.

 

How to Treat TORCH Infection?

The torch infection treatment depends on what infection has been diagnosed. Some of the torch test treatment options are listed below.

1. Toxoplasmosis: Early stages of the infection could be treated with pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine.

2. Hepatitis B: Vaccination and HBIG can protect against the infection.

3. Herpes Simplex Virus: Antiviral drugs can help shorten the infection period.

4. Rubella: Rest and mild analgesics can help in the treatment of rubella.

5. Cytomegalovirus: Treatment for the individual symptoms is carried out when a pregnant woman is infected with the virus.

 

When do you expect results?

24 to 36 Hours

 

Why Get Tested?

The Torch test is conducted to diagnose and screen infectious diseases mentioned in the Torch Panel. It may be conducted when a pregnant woman shows indications of the above illnesses or when the baby is born with congenital abnormalities due to one of the diseases of the Torch Panel. This test is also conducted as a part of the antenatal check-up for pregnant women and for those women who have had recurrent abortions.

 

Reason to take TORCH Panel Test

Each of the diseases in the Torch Panel has their own set of signs & symptoms. The test may be conducted on the newborn when the infant shows any signs indicative of these infections, such as Jaundice Low platelet level Mental retardationVery small size relative to the gestational age Heart defects Cataracts Enlarged liver or spleen, Deafness or Seizures

 

Preparations Needed for TORCH Panel Test

No Fasting Required. No other special preparations required for the torch panel test

 

Sample Required?

Specimen type: Serum (Blood Sample), Specimen collection procedure: Venipuncture - Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm.

What is TORCH Panel Test?

Torch tests are considered to be quite beneficial and often prescribed for pregnant women. But the question arises what is torch test and what does it screen. The torch panel test helps in detecting infections that could be passed on to the foetus during the pregnancy term. Hence these are an important diagnostic tool as they help in preventing birth defects.

 

Causes of the TORCH Infections in the Body

To know more about the causes, it is important to understand what each of the TORCH infection is and how they are caused.

1. Toxoplasmosis: The infection is known to be caused by a parasite when it gets into your body through the mouth. Causes of the infection are eating uncooked food or proximity to litter that attracts insects and flies.

2. Other Agents: The group constitutes of HIV, syphilis, varicella, and fifth disease. These can be caused as a result of various factors like bacterial, varicella zoster virus

3. Rubella: It is a virus caused contagious disease that can cause rashes, low-grade fever and sore throat. The mother is highly prone to rubella in the first three months of the pregnancy.

4. Cytomegalovirus: Also known as CMV it is one of the most common viral infections that can be passed on from the mother to the baby.

5. Herpes simplex: Caused by the herpes virus the infection has the possibility of being passed on to the baby in the uterus, during delivery or as a newborn.

It is important to understand the torch infection causes if you are pregnant and in case of any suspected symptom inform the doctor immediately. The chances of passing it to your baby could be reduced by timely action.

 

What other tests might I have along with this test?

If a mother or the newborn baby tests positive for the antibodies the doctor will recommend more tests to check for the underlying infection.

 

How is this test done?

The test is conducted by drawing a small sample of blood from a vein on your arm. Technician or nurse will prick a small needle and draw the blood sample into a container or a tube. The tests are conducted both at hospitals and in diagnostic centres, and the torch panel test cost might vary according to the place and the city. You can inquire about the torch test price before visiting the clinic through call or online.

 

What do my test results mean?

The TORCH test screening depicts if the patient is currently having an infection or has had one in the past. If IgG or IgM antibodies are found for an infection, it implies there is a current infection or has been there in the past, and the test result is termed as positive. The report is termed as negative if no antibodies are detected, and there is no trace of current and past infection. One can refer to the torch test normal values to check for deviations and get conclusive evidence of the presence or absence of infection.

 

Does this test pose any risk?

There are no significant risks of the torch blood test, and you might only feel a small prick when the sample is drawn. Seldom it occurs that there is an infection at the puncture site. The test does not hold any risks to the foetus as well.

 

What might affect my test results?

Any over the counter medications taken before the test might affect its results. The doctor might also ask you to stop any current medication that you are on.

 

What is TORCH syndrome?

The Torch syndrome is a group of infections that could pass on to the foetus through the pregnant mother. This torch infection could cause serious problems in the newborn babies later. It is important to understand what is torch infection and how the name has been deduced. List of infections that are a part of the syndrome include

  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Other agents (including HIV, syphilis, varicella, and fifth disease)
  • Rubella
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Herpes simplex

If a pregnant woman catches any of the above infections, there is a possibility that it spreads through the mother's blood to the unborn child. Since the foetus is in a development stage, the immune system will not be able to fight it off. This can cause serious birth defects in the child and can also sometimes lead to miscarriage and stillbirth

Understanding results of TORCH Panel

Reference RangeInterpretation
ToxoplasmosisSee individual Test Range
CytomegalovirusSee individual Test Range
Varicella-Zoster VirusSee individual Test Range
Herpes simplex virusSee individual Test Range
Hepatitis BSee individual Test Range
SyphilisSee individual Test Range
RubellaSee individual Test Range
HIVSee individual Test Range

‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’

Conclusion

Pregnancy is a beautiful experience in any woman’s life. To keep your self away from torch infections, preventive measures should be followed along with undergoing the screening test.

References

  1. http://www.fogsi.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/smtp.pdf
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3075056/
  3. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003350.htm
  4. https://labtestsonline.org/tests/torch
  5. http://www.childrensmn.org/references/lab/serology/torch-titer-igg-panel.pdf