HCG, Total Beta

Beta human chorionic gonadotropin, ß-hCG, Total Beta-hCG, Beta hCG, Quantitative, Beta hCG Level, Total, EC hCG , Non-EC Orders: EPIC: LAB5069, SOFT: HCG, EC Orders: EPIC: LAB6992, SOFT: EHCG2

Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect: One Gold-top SST tube.

Contact the Laboratory for acceptability of other tube types.

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. (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.


Centrifuged SST tubes and Microtainers® with separator gel may be transported and stored at room temperature (up to 25oC or 77oF) for 2-4 hours. DO NOT FREEZE TUBES CONTAINING WHOLE BLOOD. For longer storage, the specimen should be refrigerated (2o-8oC).

Red-top tubes and Microtainers® without separator gel may be stored at room temperature for up to 2 hours. DO NOT FREEZE TUBES CONTAINING WHOLE BLOOD. For longer storage, the serum should be removed from the clot and refrigerated (2o-8oC).

Serum specimens (pour-overs) may be stored at refrigerator temperature (2o to 8o C; 36o to 47o F) for 24 hours, and at -20o C (-4o F) for up to 1 year. Specimens stored at -70o C (-94o F) can be stored indefinitely.


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



  • 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 relation to the clinical findings of the patient 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 diagnosis pregnancy, investigate suspected ectopic pregnancy, and in monitoring 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 Code


Test Codes

Non-EC Orders: EPIC: LAB5069, SOFT: HCG, EC Orders: EPIC: LAB6992, SOFT: EHCG2

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