The HCG qualitative blood test is done to check the presence and exact levels of a hormone called human chorionic gonadtropin (HCG) in the blood which is normally produced during pregnancy. This test is also known by other names like Beta-HCG in blood serum - qualitative, human chorionic gonadtrophin -serum - qualitative, pregnancy test- blood- qualitative, serum HCG - qualitative.
This test is performed to determine if a patient is pregnant or not. It is quite possible serum HCG levels may be high in women with a certain kind of ovarian tumors or men with testicular tumors. One is not pregnant if the test results are negative and vice versa. If the test results are positive but there is no pregnancy, it may indicate ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, testicular cancer (in men), trophoblastic tumor, hydatidiform mole or ovarian cancer.
The possible risks of such a test are excessive bleeding, fainting or feeling lightheaded, hematoma (which is blood accumulating under the skin), infection (if the skin is broken) and multiple punctures to locate veins. There is little to no risk when blood is taken for such a test. However, taking blood sample from some people may be more difficult than others because every person’s arteries and veins differ in size and this difference also varies from one part of the body to the other.
The exceptions may be positive test results when there is an increase in certain hormones for people during menopause or under hormone supplements. Such a test is about 98% accurate. In case, a test is negative but a pregnancy is suspected, this test should be repeated in a week’s time.
There is no preparation required for the test. The test is not a very painful one. When the needle is inserted to extract blood, there will be a mild pain in the form of a prick or a stinging sensation. There could some throbbing later on.
Many times, blood is taken out from a vein which is usually from the back of the hand or the inner side of the elbow. The selected area is sterilized and cleaned with an antiseptic.