Master Syphilis with Picmonic for Nursing RN

With Picmonic, facts become pictures. We've taken what the science shows - image mnemonics work - but we've boosted the effectiveness by building and associating memorable characters, interesting audio stories, and built-in quizzing.

Syphilis

Syphilis-Sisyphus
Picmonic
Syphilis is a spirochete bacterial infection caused by Treponema pallidum, which is commonly associated with spread by sexual contact. Syphillis has a variety of presentations according to the time since initial contact, systemic spread of disease, and individual susceptibility to infection. Primary syphilis presents as a painless chancre in the genital or groin region.  Secondary syphilis presents as an erythematous rash involving the palms and soles or a condyloma lata which is similar to the lesions of primary syphilis in its infectivity but differs in appearance.  Lastly tertiary syphilis is a representation of widespread systemic involvement and can present with major vessel changes, such as in the aorta, permanent CNS changes, or even benign mucosal growths called gummas.  All manifestations of syphilis are secondary to invasion of the blood vessel walls.  Penicillin is the treatment of choice for any syphilis manifestation.
11 KEY FACTS
MECHANISM
Treponema pallidum
Tripod Pendulum

Syphilis is caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. This bacterium enters the body through small breaks in the skin or mucous membrances. Its entry is facilitated by the minor abrasions that can occur during sexual intercourse.

ASSESSMENT
PRIMARY STAGE
Painless Chancre
Chain-car No Pain-bolt sign

Painless, indurated skin lesions are usually localized to the groin or genital area. These are the characteristic sign of primary syphilis and usually appear 2-4 weeks after exposure to the disease. If present, they can be scraped for spirochete rather than order blood test for diagnosis. Chancres are painless as opposed to chancroids that are painful. The exudate from the chancre is highly infectious.

SECONDARY STAGE
Rash on Palms and Soles
Rash on Palms and Soles

During the secondary stage, a symmetric rash begins on the trunk. Rash on palms and soles are highly characteristic of syphilis.

(Generalized) Lymphadenopathy
Lymph-lime-add (+)

Generalized lymphadenopathy is characteristic of secondary syphilis.

Condylomata Lata
Condom Latte-with-warts

Condylomata lata are moist, weeping papules or wart-like lesions in the anal and genital area. They are the characteristic lesions of secondary syphilis are present in about one third of people who had signs of primary syphilis.

LATENT STAGE
Asymptomatic
Thumbs-up

During the latent stage of syphilis, patients are often asymptomatic. This stage can last throughout the person's lifetime with a fourth of persons developing late syphilis, in some cases many years later.

TERTIARY (LATE) STAGE
Aortitis
A-orca-on-fire

Aortitis occurs secondary to obliterative endarteritis as Treponema pallidum bacteria destroys the vessels walls. This can cause aortitis or aortic dissection in the most severe cases. Aortitis is characteristic of tertiary syphilis and presents after years of untreated illness.

Neurosyphilis
Neurons-sisyphus

Presenting in a variety of ways, syphilis can attack both the brain and spinal cord, resulting in permanent, severe disability. Syphilis testing is a routine screening for patients with atypical dementia. A type of neurosyphilis that can develop is known as tabes dorsalis. This condition is characterized by the destruction of the dorsal column in the spinal cord. Patients will show changes in proprioception, as well as ataxia.

Gummas
Granny-llama in Gum

Gummas are granulomatous skin lesions that present as a non-cancerous growth. Gummas can also present on internal organs as well. It is a characteristic lesion of tertiary syphilis and results from obliterative endarteritis. They reflect coagulative necrosis of the area and are non-infectious.

INTERVENTIONS
Penicillin
Pencil-villain

Penicillian is often given as a treatment for syphilis and other spirochete infections.

Jarisch-Herxheimer Rash
Jewish Hercules

This is a severe reaction after the administration of antibiotics, particularly penicillin which presents similarly to septic shock with fever, chills, hypotension, tachycardia and hyperventilation. This reaction is associated with penicillin treatment of syphilis infections and is hypothesized to be the result of spirochete toxins released after death by antibiotic.

Unlock all 11 facts & definitions with Picmonic Free!

JOIN FREE

Take the Syphilis Quiz

Picmonic's rapid review multiple-choice quiz allows you to assess your knowledge.

START QUIZ NOW

It's worth every penny

Our Story Mnemonics Increase Mastery and Retention

Memorize facts with phonetic mnemonics

Unforgettable characters with concise but impactful videos (2-4 min each)

Ace Your Nursing (RN) Classes & Exams with Picmonic:

Over 890,000 students use Picmonic’s picture mnemonics to improve knowledge, retention, and exam performance.

Choose the #1 Nursing (RN) student study app.

Picmonic for Nursing (RN) covers information that is relevant to your entire Nursing (RN) education. Whether you’re studying for your classes or getting ready to conquer your NCLEX®-RN, Hesi, ATI, TEAS test, Kaplan exams, we’re here to help.

Works better than traditional Nursing (RN) flashcards.

Research shows that students who use Picmonic see a 331% improvement in memory retention and a 50% improvement in test scores.