This test is used to find out the Beta-HCG Human Chorionic Gonadotropin levels in the blood.
What is HCG?
HCG Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone produced secreted by syncytiotrophoblast cells present in the placenta. Syncytiotrophoblast is the epithelial covering of the highly vascular embryonic placental villi. It invades the uterine wall, rupturing maternal capillaries and establishes an interface between maternal blood and embryonic extracellular fluid. It helps in the exchange of material between the mother and the embryo. The placenta is an organ which is developed in the uterus during pregnancy. This attaches to the uterus wall and provides nutrients, oxygen to the growing baby. It also removes the waste products from the blood of the growing baby.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin HCG is found in both men and women. HCG is important in maintaining the function of corpus luteum. Corpus luteum is a hormone-secreting body in the female reproductive system. It is formed in the ovary and made up of lutein cells. It secretes the estrogens and progesterone. HCG helps the corpus luteum to make changes in the uterus for implantation of the fertilized ovum or egg and the nourishment of the embryo. If the egg or ovum is not fertilized then the corpus luteum will degenerate or becomes inactive after 10-14 days.
HCG can be detected in blood samples after 8-11 days of conception. The levels of HCG doubles continuously for every 48-72 hours and the peak levels can be observed during 8-11 weeks after conception. Later on, HCG levels decline and remain steady for the rest of the pregnancy. In urine, this hormone can be detected after 12-14 days of the first missed period.
Why this test is performed?
The Beta HCG-Blood Test is done to know whether an individual is having normal or abnormal HCG levels in the blood of the body. The doctor may ask to perform this test to confirm the pregnancy, to determine the appropriate age of the fetus, diagnose a potential miscarriage (spontaneous loss of pregnancy) of the baby. This test is also done to determine the risk of developing ectopic pregnancy (fertilized egg or embryo attaches to the wall outside of the uterus), multiple pregnancy (pregnancy with twins, triplets or more), molar pregnancy (genetic error during the fertilization process that leads to growth of abnormal tissues within the uterus. It rarely involves a developing embryo), ovarian cancer (cancer that begins in the ovaries where eggs are produced), testicular cancer (cancer in the testicles of men where sperm and other male hormones are produced), choriocarcinoma (fast-growing cancer in the woman's uterus). If an individual is on the treatment of anti-cancer medications like Avastin, cisplatin, bevacizumab etc., then the doctor may ask to perform this test to evaluate and to check the effectiveness of the treatment and HCG levels in the body. This helps the doctor to rule out the patient disease condition.
The doctor may suggest this test before starting a treatment which may affect the embryo or fetus in the pregnant women. This test also helps to screen Edward’s syndrome (condition in which the baby suffers from severe developmental delays due to an extra chromosome 18) and Down syndrome(the genetic disorder which causes developmental and intellectual delays due to the presence of chromosome 21).
Generally, when a patient is diagnosed with testicular cancer or ovarian cancer visits hospital for a general check-up, the doctor may ask to undergo the Beta HCG blood test which gives a better status of the condition. Mostly, this test is done along with other HCG tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Drugs like cisplatin, methotrexate, carmustine etc may change the levels of HCG the blood. So inform your doctor prior to the test if you are on these medications.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Beta HCG. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Beta HCG.
There are no specific preparations required for the Beta HCG Blood Test.
If test results are more than the normal range then it may indicate that there may be conditions likes molar pregnancy (genetic error during the fertilization process that leads to growth of abnormal tissues within the uterus. It rarely involves a developing embryo), multiple pregnancy (pregnancy with twins, triplets or more), normal pregnancy, ovarian cancer (cancer that begins in the ovaries where eggs are produced), choriocarcinoma (fast-growing cancer in the woman's uterus) of the uterus, testicular cancer (cancer in the testicles of men where sperm and other male hormones are produced).
If test results are less than the normal range, then it indicates that there may be a chance for conditions possible miscarriage (spontaneous loss of pregnancy), threatened spontaneous abortion, incomplete miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy (fertilized egg or embryo attaches to the wall outside of the uterus).
|FEMALE||All age groups||< 5mIU/ml|
|FEMALE||All age groups||Value doubles from the normal value starting from 3rd week to 16 th week|