Lab Test

HCG, Total Beta

Beta human chorionic gonadotropin, ß-hCG, Total Beta-hCG, Beta hCG, Quantitative, Beta hCG Level, Total, EC hCG

Test Codes

Non-EC Orders: EPIC: LAB5069, BHCG  EC Orders: EPIC: LAB6992, ECHCG



Specimen Collection Criteria


Preferred Sample:  One Light Green (Mint) Top Plasma Separator Tube (PST)(Minimum Whole Blood: 4.0 mL)

Acceptable Sample:  One Gold Top SST (Minimum Whole Blood:  4.0 mL)


COLLECT:  One Gold Top SST (Minimum Whole Blood:  4.0 mL) 

Contact the Laboratory for acceptability of other tube types. 

Physician Office/Draw Specimen Preparation

Let SST specimens clot 30-60 minutes then immediately centrifuge to separate serum from cells. Refrigerate (2-8°C or 36-46°F) the centrifuged SST tube within two hours of collection. (Minimum: 0.5 mL) 

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: Centrifuged SST tube, refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F). (Minimum: 0.5 mL) 

Rejection Criteria

Grossly hemolyzed specimens. 

Red-top tubes with serum not separated from cells within two hours of collection.  

In-Lab Processing

Let SST specimens clot 30-60 minutes. Centrifuge SST tubes and Microtainers® to separate serum from cells. Deliver immediately to the appropriate testing station. 


Specimen Stability for Testing:

Centrifuged SST Tubes and Microtainers® with Separator Gel
Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 8 hours
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 7 days
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): Unacceptable

Red-top Tubes and Microtainers® without Separator Gel
Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 2 hours
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): Unacceptable
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): Unacceptable

Serum Specimens (Pour-Overs)
Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 8 hours
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 7 days
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): 7 days

Specimen Storage in Department Prior to Disposal:
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 7 days 


Canton Chemistry Laboratory
Dearborn Chemistry Laboratory
Farmington Hills Chemistry Laboratory 
Grosse Pointe Chemistry Laboratory 
Livonia Main Laboratory
Lenox Main Laboratory
Royal Oak Automated Chemistry Laboratory 
Troy Chemistry Laboratory
Taylor Chemistry Laboratory
Trenton Chemistry Laboratory
Wayne Chemistry Laboratory 


Sunday – Saturday, 24 hours a day.
STAT results available within 1 hour of receipt in the Laboratory.
Routine results available within 4 hours. 

Reference Range

Non-pregnant Females and Males: Less than or equal to 5 mIU/mL.

Pregnant Females:

Gestational Age Expected hCG Values (mIU/mL)
0.2 - 1 week 6 - 50
1 - 2 weeks 50 - 500
2 - 3 weeks 100 - 5,000
3 - 4 weeks 500 - 10,000
4 - 5 weeks 1,000 - 50,000
5 - 6 weeks 10,000 - 100,000
6 - 8 weeks 15,000 - 200,000
2 - 3 months 10,000 - 100,000


Test Methodology

Chemiluminescent Immunoassay.


  • This assay measures free Beta subunits plus intact Beta-hCG. The hCG detection limit is less than 2.0 mIU/mL. 
  • Beta-hCG results should be evaluated in the context of clinical findings and the results of other diagnostic tests. 
  • Specimens from patients who have received preparations of mouse monoclonal antibodies for diagnosis or therapy may contain human anti-mouse antibodies (HAMA) and should not be tested using this assay. 
  • Rarely, hCG levels may appear consistently elevated due to the presence of heterophilic antibodies or to nonspecific protein binding. If the hCG level is inconsistent with clinical evidence, results should be confirmed by an alternate hCG method. 

Clinical Utility

  • In females, this assay is used to diagnose pregnancy, investigate suspected ectopic pregnancy, and monitor in vitro fertilization patients. 
  • Diagnosis of pregnancy can be confirmed as early as day 21 of the menstrual cycle or approximately 1 week after conception. A negative value does not rule out pregnancy. A patient with a negative result (less than or equal to 5 mIU/mL) should be redrawn in 2 days and assayed again because hCG values in normal pregnancy double every 48 hours in the first trimester. Beta hCG doubling times are longer than 2 days for ectopic and shorter for molar pregnancies. 
  • In vitro fertilization patients are monitored for beta hCG levels 12 days after embryo transfer. 
  • This assay aids in the diagnosis of testicular, ovarian, and uterine gestational trophoblastic tumors and germ cell tumors. Serial results can be used to follow tumor response to ablative surgical therapy or chemotherapy.  

CPT Codes

LOINC: 21198-7


Last Updated


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