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TRIPLE MARKER

About the test
What is this test done for?
Triple marker, also known as triple test, is a blood test that measures the amount of 3 substances in the pregnant mother’s blood. The three substances evaluated are alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and estriol.
Why is it Done?
This is a specialized blood test carried out in pregnant women in the 2nd trimester i.e. 15-18th week of pregnancy (in certain cases it is done up to 20th week). In triple marker AFP, HCG and estriol are evaluated to look for genetic disorders in the baby.
When should it be performed?

This test is performed in a pregnant woman in 2nd trimester (15th to 18th week of pregnancy). It helps in screening for certain genetic disorders in a baby. The genetic disorders it screens for are

  • Down’s syndrome
  • Trisomy 18 (A chromosomal abnormality)
  • Neural tube defect and spina bifida

This test is carried out in all women nowadays, but certain women are at greater risk of having baby with these defects, including

  • Women who are over 35 years of age during pregnancy
  • Women who are on insulin to treat diabetes
  • Women with a family history of birth defects
  • Women who are exposed to high levels of radiation
How is it done
A blood sample will be collected from a vein in your arm. No special preparations like fasting required.
Results
  • Absence of Trisomy 18
  • Absence of neural tube defect

The levels of estriol are low, if it is  below 0.3 ng/mL. It means

  • Down’s syndrome
  • Trisomy 18
  • Fetal demise
  • Fetal adrenal insufficiency

The levels of estriol are high, if it is above 2.1 ng/mL. It means

  • Pending labor
  • Fetal congenital adrenal hyperplasia

The test result of hCG is normal, if levels of hCG are 4060-165400 mIUg/mL. It means

  • Absence of Down’s syndrome
  • Absence of Trisomy 18
  • Absence of neural tube defect

The levels of hCG are low, if it is below 4000 mIU/mL. It means

  • Miscarriage
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Trisomy 18

The levels of hCG are high, if it is above 16500 ng/mL. It means

  • Down’s syndrome
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Triploidy
  • Hydatidform mole
Other Tests
  • Quadruple Marker
    • It is a routine blood test carried out during 2nd trimester
    • It evaluates the amount of AFP, hCG, estriol and Inhibin A
    • Abnormal levels indicate neural tube defect, spina bifida, multiple pregnancies, Down’s syndrome
  • Dual Marker
    • It is a routine blood test carried out during 1st  trimester
    • It evaluates the amount of estriol and PAPP-A (pregnancy associated plasma protein A)
    • Abnormal levels indicate neural tube defect or Down’s syndrome
  • Pre-natal Cell free DNA screening
    • It is a highly specialized blood test that examines the cell-free DNA from the placenta and fetus
    • Abnormal results indicate
      • Down’s syndrome
      • Turner’s syndrome
      • Trisomy 18
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