Qualitative urine visual pregnancy tests are increasingly being replaced by analyzer-read chromatographic immunoassay (CIA) tests that determine human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in specimens. Accurate and consistent analyzer-read pregnancy test results offer significant advantages over traditional methodology and reporting. Since no visual interpretation or manually transcribed documentation is required, the chance for error is greatly diminished. hCG test instrumentation connected via laboratory or hospital information systems (LIS/HIS) automatically report hCG results that can be reviewed immediately and acted upon, thus facilitating the current trend towards testing and immediate healthcare provision in decentralized, ambulatory settings.
Although analyzer-read hCG tests are not intended to detect conditions other than pregnancy, a number of conditions other than pregnancy, including trophoblastic disease and certain non-trophoblastic neoplasms, can cause borderline levels of hCG. Borderline hCG results are in no sense diagnostic, but may, especially when results do not fit a clinical picture, indicate to clinicians that further investigation is needed.
Analyzer-interpreted pregnancy tests: the significance of borderline hCG levels in urine specimens
Image credits: Bayer, Clinitec