What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)
- TORCH Blood Test
- TORCH Screen Test
- TORCH Test
What is TORCH Panel Blood Test? (Background Information)
- TORCH stands for several infectious diseases that may pass from a mother to her fetus during pregnancy. These diseases include toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex virus, among others
- Toxoplasmosis is caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. It is most commonly spread through consumption of infected meat and exposure to the feces of infected animals
- Rubella is caused by the rubella virus. It is also called German measles. Rubella is spread through air droplets and infects the respiratory tract upon inhalation
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a seasonal virus that occurs latently in most of the humans (about 60-80% of them). But, it rarely causes any serious disease. However, the virus poses a much greater risk for the unborn fetuses and in newborns, and may severely impair their development
- Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infects the oral and genital regions in adults and can cause cold sores and genital blisters. In a newborn, the virus can cause organ damage and impair development
- Exposure to any of the TORCH diseases can be identified by the presence of antibodies against the pathogens causing the diseases
- Antibodies are bodily defense proteins created by the immune system. They recognize specific blood-borne invaders, such as bacteria and viruses, and clear them from the body
- The TORCH Panel Blood Test consists of several blood tests that detect antibodies indicative of T. gondii, rubella, CMV, or HSV infection. It is used to screen pregnant mothers for diseases that may threaten the health of the fetus and interfere with the normal development of the newborn
What are the Clinical Indications for performing the TORCH Panel Blood Test?
Following are the clinical indications for performing the TORCH Panel Blood Test:
- Routine screening of pregnant women
- Newborns, who are observed to have:
- Low birth weight
- Mental retardation
- Organ defects
- Eye defects, like cataracts
- Low platelet levels
- Other developmental abnormalities
How is the Specimen Collected for TORCH Panel Blood Test?
Following is the specimen collection process for TORCH Panel Blood Test:
Sample required: Blood
- Insertion of a needle into an arm vein
- Pricking of an infant’s heel
Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.
What is the Significance of the TORCH Panel Blood Test Result?
A positive TORCH Panel Blood Test may indicate infection by any of the following pathogens:
- Toxoplasma gondii
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
- Herpes simplex virus (HSV)
- Other pathogens
The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.
Additional and Relevant Useful Information:
- Other pathogens commonly transferred from a mother to the fetus or newborn includes human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), syphilis, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and hepatitis B virus
- If the test is also used to detect the presence of syphilis (a sexually-transmitted bacterial infection), then it is known as a ‘TORCHS Test.
Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.