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Beaumont Laboratory

Hepatitis B Core Antibody IgM (HBc IgM)

HBcIgM, Hepatitis B Core Antibody, IgM (HBcIgM), Antrim #30960, EPIC: LAB5219, SOFT: HBCM

Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect (preferred specimen): One Gold-top SST tube. (Minimum Whole Blood: 4.0 mL)
Also acceptable: One Lavender-top EDTA tube. (Minimum Whole Blood: 3.0 mL) 

Note: Patient Preparation (Royal Oak ONLY): Twenty-four (24) hours before this test, the patient should not take multivitamins or dietary supplements containing biotin (vitamin B7) which is commonly found in hair, skin and nail supplements and multivitamins.

Physician Office/Drawsite 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. (Min: 2.0 mL)
  • Centrifuge Lavender-top tube immediately to separate plasma from cells. Transfer plasma to a plastic transport tube and refrigerate (2-8°C or 36-46°F) within twelve hours of collection. (Min: 2.0 mL) 

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: Centrifuged SST tube or plasma aliquot, refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F). (Min: 2.0 mL serum or plasma)

Rejection Criteria

  • Hemolyzed specimens.
  • Severely lipemic specimens.
  • Red-top tubes with serum not separated from cells within two hours of collection.
  • Lavender-top tubes with plasma not separated from cells within twelve hours of collection. 


Specimen Stability for Testing:

Centrifuged SST Tubes and Microtainers® with Separator Gel
Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 2-4 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 (20-25°C or 68-77°F): 2-4 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): 2-4 hours
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 7 days
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): 7 days

Plasma Specimens (Aliquots)
Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 12 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


Farmington Hills Chemistry Laboratory.
Royal Oak Automated Chemistry Laboratory.


Sunday - Saturday, 24 hours a day.
Results available within 24 hours of receipt in the Laboratory.

Reference Range


Test Methodology

Chemiluminescence Immunoassay.


  • This assay cannot be used to determine a patient's immune status to hepatitis B.
  • Patients with Equivocal/Borderline result should be redrawn at approximately one week intervals to distinguish rising IgM anti-HBc levels (associated with acute hepatitis B infection) from falling or unchanging IgM anti-HBc levels (associated with recovery).

Clinical Utility

  • This assay aids in the diagnosis of acute or recent (usually six months or less) hepatitis B viral infection.
  • IgM anti-HBc arises early in the illness of patients with acute hepatitis B, but it rapidly decreases in titer. HBV core IgM levels are generally not detectable 6 - 24 months after the onset of illness. (1)
  • The incubation period for hepatitis B is approximately 70 days (range, 30 - 180 days) (1).

Clinical Disease

Patients with hepatitis B may present with fatigue, poor appetite, fever, vomiting and occasionally joint pain, hives or rash. Urine may become darker in color, and then jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes) may appear. Patients may also be asymptomatic or experience only a few symptoms.


Hepatitis B virus can be found in blood, saliva, semen and other body fluids of infected individuals. The virus is spread by direct contact with infectious body fluids. Transfusion was formerly the major mode of transmission of Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B infection is now most frequently spread by sexual contact, intravenous drug abuse and transmission from mothers to their newborn infants. (2)


  1. Hsu, H., Feinstone, S., Hoofnagle, J. Acute Viral Hepatitis in Mandell, G., Bennett, J., Dolin. R.(eds.), Principles of Infectious Diseases 7th edition New York,N.Y. 2005 Chapter 115,116.
  2. Farrar, W., Wood, M., Innes, J., Tubbs, H. Infectious Diseases, Time Mirror International Publishers Ltd New York, N.Y. 1995.

CPT Code


Test Codes

Antrim #30960, EPIC: LAB5219, SOFT: HBCM

Last Updated


Microtainer® and Vacutainer® are registered trademarks of Becton, Dickinson and Company.
UroVysion® is a registered trademark of Abbott Laboratories. ThinPrep® is a registered trademark of Hologic, Incorporated.

This directory currently reflects information only for specimens collected and/or processed at the Farmington Hills, Grosse Pointe, Royal Oak, and Troy campuses.