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Hcg Quantitative

Hcg Quantitative

What is the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) blood test?

The human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) blood test measures the level of hCG hormone present in a sample of your blood.

hCG is produced during pregnancy. Your doctor may refer to the hCG blood test by another name, such as the:

  • beta-hCG blood test
  • quantitative blood pregnancy test
  • quantitative hCG blood test
  • quantitative serial beta-hCG test
  • repeat quantitative beta-hCG test

There are important differences between hCG blood tests and the hCG urine tests that you can purchase over the counter.

Serial hCG Blood Tests

A single hCG test may be done to see if your levels are in the normal range of hCG for a specific point in pregnancy while serial hCG measurements are done to look at hCG doubling times. This gives your doctor an idea of whether or not your pregnancy is progressing as it should.

With serial hCG measurements, quantitative hCG blood tests are drawn two to three days apart. This is because ordinarily, in early pregnancy, the hCG level in your blood doubles every two to three days.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Pregnancy Test

Pregnancy tests detect the hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). After an egg is fertilized, the developing embryo attaches to the uterine lining approximately six to twelve days after ovulation. Following implantation, hCG is produced by trophoblastic cells that reside in the outer layer of the embryo. It takes several days for hCG to be detectable in blood or urine. Thereafter, hCG production increases very rapidly with serum concentrations doubling every 1-1.5 days during the first 8 to 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a glycoprotein that consists of an alpha and beta subunit. The alpha subunit is structurally similar to the alpha subunits of FSH, LH and TSH. The beta subunit is distinct for hCG.  The release of hCG into maternal circulation begins with embryo implantation 5 to 7 days after fertilization. 

What Is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

When an egg is fertilized and implants in any location other than the uterus, the pregnancy is considered ectopic. "An ectopic pregnancy accounts for 1-2% of all pregnancies," says Dr. Tami Prince, an OBGYN at the Women's Health and Wellness Center of Georgia in Greensboro, Georgia. "They represent 2.7% of all pregnancy-related deaths according to the CDC and ACOG. 90% of ectopic pregnancies occur in the Fallopian tubes." Other times, a pregnancy may implant in the abdomen, in an ovary, or on the cervix—these cases are much rarer than a tubal pregnancy.

Spotting, cramping, and abdominal pain are often noted by the pregnant mother. If the pregnancy is far enough along, the ectopic pregnancy may be seen via a transvaginal ultrasound.

Why the Test is Performed

HCG appears in the blood and urine of pregnant women as early as 10 days after conception. Quantitative HCG measurement helps determine the exact age of the fetus. It can also diagnose abnormal pregnancies, such as ectopic pregnancies, molar pregnancies, and possible miscarriages. It is also used as part of a screening test for Down syndrome.

This test is also done to diagnose abnormal conditions not related to pregnancy that can raise HCG level.

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