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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics Lab Test Directory

Test Name: HCG, Quantitative

Test Code(s): HCG / BHCG

CPT Code(s): 84702

Methodology: Chemiluminescent Immunoassay

Days Performed: Daily, 24 hours.

Turnaround Time: Stat: 1 hour.
Routine: 4 hours.

Specimen Requirements

Specimen: Blood

Collection Container: Preferred: Green cap with yellow ring (PST)
Also Acceptable: Green top, Red cap with yellow ring (SST), Red top

Collection Volume: Preferred: 2 mL
Pediatrics: 0.4 mL

Sample Analyzed: Plasma or serum

Volume Required: Preferred: 1 mL
Pediatrics: 0.2 mL

Specimen Processing: Centrifuge.  If a complete barrier has not formed, transfer cell-free plasma/serum to plastic vial.  Refrigerate.

Specimen Transport: Transport specimen to UWHC Core Laboratory (B4/220). Transport with coolant pack if coming from outreach location.

Stability: Refrigerated: 7 days
Frozen: Okay; avoid repeat freeze/thaw cycles


Reference Interval:
Gestational Age mIU/mL 
0.2-1 week  5-50  
1-2 weeks  50-500 
2-3 weeks  100-5000
3-4 weeks  500-10000 
4-5 weeks 1000-50000  
5-6 weeks 10000-100000 
6-8 weeks 15000-200000
2-3 months  10000-100000
Non-pregnant Females  0.0-3.0
Male adult 0.0-1.0


The concentration of HCG rises rapidly during pregnancy.  A maximum level of 5000 to 200,000 mIU/mL is reached at 10-12 weeks, followed by a slow decline to levels of 1000 to 50,000 mIU/mL during the third trimester.  A reduced or declining HCG level may indicate an abnormal pregnancy and additional follow-up testing and clinical evaluation should occur.

Test Limitations:

This test is not intended for aiding in the diagnosis of cancer or for monitoring the treatment of cancer patients.

Additional Information:

The concentration of HCG rises rapidly during the first weeks of pregnancy, approximately doubling every two days. Low level HCG values >25 mIU/mL may be indicative of early pregnancy, but these results should always be evaluated in the context of the clinical situation: date of last menstrual period, pelvic examination and other clinical findings. When borderline results are encountered, patient should be redrawn 48 hours later.

Pregnancy   PREG  BHCG  Beta-HCG  beta

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