TORCH Panel

Clinical definition of the Torch test
TORCH
is a medical acronym for a group of infectious diseases that may infect adults or more commonly 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 gondii
O Other infectious agents such as Hepatitis B, Syphilis, Varicella-Zoster Virus, HIV, Parvovirus B19
R – Rubella
C – Cytomegalovirus
H – Herpes simplex virus

Why is the Torch test done?
The Torch test is done for diagnosis and screening of the infectious diseases mentioned in the above Torch Panel. It may be done when a pregnant woman shows signs 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 done as a part of the antenatal check-up in pregnant women and in those women who have had recurrent abortions.

What are the common signs/symptoms when the Torch test is done?
Each of the above diseases in the Torch Panel has their own set of signs & symptoms. The test may be ordered on the newborn when the infant shows any signs suggestive of these infections, such as:

  • Exceptionally small size relative to the gestational age
  • Deafness
  • Mental retardation
  • Seizures
  • Heart defects
  • Cataracts
  • Enlarged liver or spleen
  • Low platelet level
  • Jaundice

Who should do the Torch test (Target population)?

This test may be done by persons who are exposed to the above infectious diseases. It may also be done when a pregnant woman falls ill, has recurrent abortions or when a baby is born with birth defects, which may have been caused because of one of the diseases in the Torch panel.

What should I do before the Torch test?

Specimen type

Specimen collection procedure

Preparatory instructions before the test *

Serum (Blood Sample)

Venipuncture

(Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm)

No Fasting Required.

No other special preparations required.

*Subjects suffering from any illness or on oral or injectable medications are advised to consult their physician prior to requesting any tests or procedures.

How do I interpret my Torch test results?

Reference Range*

Interpretation

Toxoplasmosis

See individual Test Range

Hepatitis B

See individual Test Range

Syphilis

See individual Test Range

Varicella-Zoster Virus

See individual Test Range

HIV

See individual Test Range

Rubella

See individual Test Range

Cytomegalovirus

See individual Test Range

Herpes simplex virus

See individual Test Range

Inference: IgG antibodies indicate to a past infection whereas IgM antibodies refer to an active or current infection. The general abnormal, or positive, finding would be high levels of IgM antibody. The test can be refined further for antibodies specific to given disease agents. The TORCH screen, however, can produce both false-positive and false-negative findings.

‘*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’

Diseases/conditions related to the Torch test

  • Toxoplasmosis 
  • Hepatitis B
  • Syphilis
  • Varicella-Zoster Virus
  • HIV
  • Parvovirus B19
  • Rubella
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Herpes simplex virus

Other tests related to the Torch test

  • Rubella
  • Genital herpes
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

 


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