Plasma hCG

Used when quantitative information is needed:

■ Diagnosing ectopic pregnancy

■ Monitoring trophoblastic tumors

■ Screening for fetal abnormalities

Do not provide additional information in diagnosing routine pregnancy since they are positive < 1 week before urine hCG.


Women of reproductive age with:

■ Amenorrhea


Do not assay for hCG before a woman has missed a menstrual period because of low test sensitivity before this time.

The electronic Doppler device can detect fetal heart tones as early as 8 weeks' GA, albeit with difficulty.


Not generally used to diagnose pregnancy, but can do so once a gestation sac is present within the uterus.


■ To confirm an intrauterine pregnancy (if it is suspected to be ectopic)

■ To confirm the presence of a fetal heartbeat in a patient with a history of miscarriage

■ To diagnose multiple pregnancy

■ To estimate gestational age

■ To screen for fetal structural anomalies

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