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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-24 (EDT)

See Also Lab Tests

The hCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin test is used to determine pregnancy and for the monitoring of "high-risk" pregnancies. As well, HCG is often used as a tumor marker for certain cancers. [1], [2]


  • HCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a glycoprotein secreted by the placental trophoblast after the ovum is fertilized.
  • HCG will appear in the blood and urine of pregnant women as early as 10 days following conception.
  • HCG is not normally present in nonpregnant women, although in a small number of women (<5%), HCG can be found in very minute levels.

Patient Preparation

  • No fasting required.
  • Factors which can cause increased levels
  • Tests performed too early in pregnancy before significant HCG levels may give false-negative results, hematuria, proteinuria
  • Drugs: anticonvulsants, antiparkinsonian drugs, hypnotics, tranquilizers
  • Factors which can cause decreased levels
  • Drugs: diuretics and promethazine

Clinical Implications

High levels indicate:

  • Pregnancy
  • Hydatidiform mole of the uterus
  • Choriocarcinoma of the uterus
  • Germ cell (choriocarcinoma, teratomas, embryonal cell) tumors of testes or ovaries
  • Other tumors ( poorly differentiated tumors, e.g. hepatoma and lymphoma)

Low levels indicate:

  • Threatened abortion
  • Incomplete abortion
  • Dead fetus

Associated Tests


  1. Pagana Kathleen D, Pagana Timothy J (2006) Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, Mosby.
  2. Weatherby Dicken, Ferguson Scott (2002) Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis: Clinical Laboratory Testing from a Functional Perspective, Bear Mountain.