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Subject: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
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Glycoprotein hormone, which is also known as β-hCG and chorionic gonadotropin, is produced by the placenta, with structural similarity to the pituitary hormones FSH, TSH, and LH. The hCG test is widely used to detect pregnancy. It is also used as tumor marker for choriocarcinoma and some germ cell tumors.
Normal range: ≥5.0 mIU/mL (generally indicative of pregnancy; Table 16.40).
Diagnosis of pregnancy
Investigation of suspected ectopic pregnancy
Monitoring in vitro fertilization patients
Recent termination of pregnancy
Gestational trophoblastic disease
Choriocarcinoma and some germ cell tumors
Threatened abortion; microabortion
False elevations (phantom hCG) may occur with patients who have human antianimal or heterophilic antibodies.
Patients who have been exposed to animal antigens, either in the environment or as part of treatment or an imaging procedure, may have circulating antianimal antibodies present. These antibodies may interfere with the assay reagents to produce unreliable results.