Free Beta HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) is produced by the placenta during pregnancy.
This test is used to confirm pregnancy, detecting ectopic pregnancy, potential miscarriage and screening of downs syndrome. High levels of beta HCG may also indicate a specific type of ovarian cancer in women and testicular cancer in men.
Beta HCG is normally present in low amounts in men and women, the level of beta HCG increase during the initial period of pregnancy and falls to negligible levels after delivery.
This test is also used to evaluate treatment with certain anticancer drugs and the patient’s response to the treatment and its effectiveness.
Frequently asked questions
How is the blood sample taken?
To take the blood sample, a tourniquet (elastic) band is placed tightly on the upper arm. The patient is then asked to make a fist. This helps in the build-up of blood filling the veins and it becomes easy to collect the blood. The skin is cleaned before inserting the needle in the vein in order to prevent bacteria from entering. Needle is inserted into the vein of the arm and the blood sample is collected in the vacutainer.
What is ectopic pregnancy and its symptoms?
Ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy where the fertilised egg implants outside of the uterus and symptoms may include low back pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain over one side of abdomen, sharp abdominal cramps, dizziness, weakness, etc.
Is beta HCG used to detect only pregnancies?
No, beta HCG is also used to detect certain tumours of the ovaries and the testicular cancers.
What are the conditions where beta HCG levs are low?
The level of beta HCG are usually low in miscalculated gestational age, possible miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy etc.