Double Marker Test - Price, Report Images & Normal Values
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Are you pregnant and worried about whether your baby is healthy? This is where the double marker test comes to your rescue. Double marker test, also known as the dual market test or the dual test is highly beneficial.
Wondering what is double marker test in pregnancy, double marker test price, normal values, and results as it can provide valuable insights for expecting parents. Keep reading further to learn more.
Dual test, maternal serum screening, first trimester screening
Fasting not required
Test done by
beta-hCG and PAPP-A
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What is double marker test?
The double marker test is also known as the maternal serum screening or the first-trimester screening. This test is specifically done to detect the presence of chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, Patau’s syndrome, etc., in a developing foetus.
Maternal serum screening measures the levels of two substances in the mother's blood - beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (beta-hCG) and pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A). Abnormal levels of these markers can indicate an increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities.
The double marker test in pregnancy normal values can vary depending on the laboratory and the specific gestational age at the testing time. However, in general, average values for beta-hCG are between 25700-288000 mIU/mL, and the average values for PAPP-A is 1 MoM.
Purpose of Double Marker Test
Prenatal screening tests have become an important part of pregnancy care. These tests allow healthcare professionals to assess the risk of certain foetal abnormalities and can help parents make informed decisions about their pregnancy.
It is not yet known why these abnormalities occur in foetus but there are a few tests that can help with diagnosis. One such test that can help with the identification of chromosomal or neural defect is the double marker testing pregnancy, a simple blood test that can help diagnose certain conditions like-
Down syndrome: It is a genetic disorder that causes developmental delays and intellectual disabilities. There is a defect at chromosome number 21.
Edwards syndrome: Also known as Trisomy 18. This condition is generally caused by an extra copy of chromosome 18. It can cause developmental delays, heart defects, and other abnormalities.
Patau syndrome: This is a rare condition caused by an extra copy of chromosome 13. It can cause severe developmental abnormalities, heart defects, and other health problems.
Neural tube defects: These are associated with congenital disabilities that affect the brain, spinal cord, or spinal column. Examples include spina bifida (a birth defect that takes place when the spine and spinal cord do not form properly) and anencephaly (a birth defect in which the brain and the skull bones don't form completely when in the womb).
Benefits of the Double Marker Test
If you are still wondering why a double marker test in pregnancy is crucial, then the answer is simple. This essential prenatal screening test significantly helps in the detection and prevention of not just Down syndrome in newborns but also other health conditions.
Other health conditions like deformities in the lungs, stomach, heart, intestines and other vital organs may also be diagnosed. The dual marker test in pregnancy has been known to be beneficial in the following ways :
Non-invasive and low risk
High sensitivity and specificity
Timely decision making
Minimum risk of invasive tests
Preparation of Double Marker Test
Now that it is clear what is double marker blood test in pregnancy, it is time to know what one needs to is done in the test. Before undergoing a double marker test, it is essential to prepare appropriately to ensure the safety and accuracy of the test results.
Some basic things that must always be taken into deep consideration for double marker blood test are:
The doctor should constantly be updated about the medical history and the use of medications.
You may be asked to discontinue the use of certain medications before taking the blood test.
It is a non-fasting test, so there are no restrictions, and a person can eat or drink anything unless instructed otherwise.
Wear comfortable clothing - Loose-fitting clothing will allow easy access to your arm for blood collection. Comfortable clothing can help you relax during the procedure and make the blood draw more efficient.
Procedure of Double Marker Test
Wondering when a double marker test in pregnancy is performed? The ideal time for dual marker test in pregnancy is 11 to 13 weeks. The double-marker blood test is a simple procedure that requires no preparation. An ultrasound examination is usually the first step in a double-marker test followed by a blood test.
Here is a detailed description of how the double marker test is performed:
The blood sample is taken by a healthcare provider from the pregnant woman's arm using a needle and syringe.
This blood sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis.
A lab technician measures the levels of beta-hCG and PAPP-A in the blood sample.
They compare the levels of beta-hCG and PAPP-A to average values for the woman's gestational age.
They calculate a risk score based on the woman's age, gestational age, and levels of beta-hCG and PAPP-A. This risk score indicates the likelihood of the foetus having certain abnormalities.
The doctor discusses the double marker test results with the pregnant woman and may recommend further testing or monitoring if necessary.
Aftercare of the Double Marker Test
Typically, no after-care is required after a dual marker test in pregnancy. The woman can typically resume her normal activities immediately after the test, although she should follow any specific instructions provided by her doctor.
The double marker test report is usually available within three days to a week. Once the results are received, the doctor will schedule an appointment to discuss the results.
Understanding the Double Marker Test Results
In the first trimester, the NT scan (a nuchal translucency scan is used to screen the baby for certain abnormalities. This test is generally scheduled between weeks 11 and 13 of pregnancy) and double marker tests are used together for the most accurate results.
The double marker test normal report images determines whether the patient is at low, moderate, or high risk of abnormalities.
Double marker test low-risk means ("screen-negative") a "normal" result and indicates that a baby is unlikely to have chromosomal abnormalities.
If a person's result falls within the double marker test normal range, they will only be recommended for further testing if there is another indicator (such as family history, age, etc.) or if they want to learn more about their pregnancy.
It is wrong to think that a double marker test results low-risk means that the baby will be fine. It's also necessary to consider that first-trimester screening is only available for Down syndrome, trisomy 13, and trisomy 18 markers, not other defects.
Treatment plan after test
The double marker test is a prenatal screening test used to assess the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in a developing foetus. Double marker test report may help in early diagnosis and timely treatment plan.
Double marker test normal values: In some cases, especially if the chromosomal abnormalities are mild or not life-threatening, no specific treatment may be necessary. Double marker test low risk means, close monitoring throughout the pregnancy to manage any potential complications.
Double marker test negative means there's a low probability of the baby having chromosomal abnormalities.
Positive double marker: For more severe chromosomal abnormalities that result in birth defects or developmental issues, a multidisciplinary approach with supportive care may be recommended. IF double marker test result is positive or Double marker test high result means involvement of medical management of symptoms, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other interventions to support the child's development and well-being.
Pregnancy Termination: After double marker test report analysis, in cases where a severe chromosomal abnormality is detected, some parents may choose to terminate the pregnancy. This decision is deeply personal and should be made after careful consideration and counseling.
If you or someone you know has received double marker test results and are unsure about the implications or the next steps, it's crucial to discuss the results with a healthcare provider who can provide appropriate guidance based on the specific circumstances and the latest medical knowledge available.
Risks of the Double Marker Test
The double marker test is relatively safe and one of the most widely used tests. However, like any other test, some risks are closely associated with it. These include:
False positives - Sometimes, the double marker test can yield false positive results. These tests indicate a high risk of chromosomal abnormality in cases where the foetus is actually normal.
False negatives - The double marker test results can also be false negatives. This means that they can indicate a low risk of chromosomal activity when the foetus is actually affected.
Limited scope - One of the biggest disadvantages of the double marker test is that it can only detect problems like Down syndrome and Edwards syndrome. It fails to diagnose other chromosomal abnormalities or genetic disorders.
Risks of Delaying the Double Marker Test
The double-marker blood test in pregnancy is a non-invasive blood test. Even though there are no primary risks associated with this test, it is essential that the pregnant woman is following the doctor's instructions.
The many risks closely associated with delaying the double marker blood test in pregnancy include:
Delayed or missed detection of genetic disorders
Increased levels of anxiety and stress
Missed opportunities for early intervention
Reduced time for decision-making
Double Marker Test Cost
The double marker test is among the many essential tests that a pregnant woman must get done. Just like any other test, the price of a test is dependent on multiple factors. It is best to consult the healthcare provider to know the exact pricing. The price of the double marker blood test varies between ₹ 1000 to 4000. The double marker test cost depends on several factors, such as
Hospital - The prices of the double marker test are sure to vary on the basis of the choice of the testing lab, hospital, or clinic chosen by the patient. For example, the price of the tests in government hospitals is sure to differ from the private facilities.
City - The location or the place where the test is getting done also influences the cost. There are sure to be changed from small villages to big cities.
Other tests - Another factor that influences the cost is if one has been recommended to get more tests done at the same time.
₹ 1,000 - ₹ 4,000
Myths and Facts
The dual marker test or the double marker test is a prenatal screening test that measures essential substances in the blood of a pregnant woman. However, there are many myths related to this test. Let's have a quick look at not just the myths but also the facts.
Myth - The double marker test diagnoses chromosomal abnormalities.
Fact - The double marker test is a screening test and not a diagnostic test. It helps in the assessment of certain chromosomal abnormalities, but many do not always provide a definitive diagnosis.
Myth - The double marker test is always 100% accurate
Fact - The double marker test is not always 100% accurate. This test correctly identifies abnormalities in 85-90% of pregnancies.
Myth - This test is invasive and carries the risk of miscarriages.
Fact - This is a non-invasive and safe blood test that does not impose the threat of miscarriage.
Myth - The double marker test is only for women above the age of 35.
Fact - Even though the risk of chromosomal abnormalities tends to increase with age, the double marker test is recommended for all pregnant women despite their age.
The primary purpose of the double marker test is to diagnose chromosomal abnormalities in the foetus in the initial stages of pregnancy. It is a simple and mostly pain-free procedure. This test plays a significant role in keeping the would-be parents informed of any kind of abnormalities and helps them in making informed decisions.
However, one needs to know that the double market test is a screening test and not a diagnostic test. Compared with other invasive tests, a double-marker blood test is far safer.
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FAQs for Double Marker Test
What is a double marker test in pregnancy?
A double marker test means the blood test done during pregnancy to screen for certain chromosomal abnormalities and neural tube defects in the developing foetus.
The test measures two specific substances in the mother's blood, known as free beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (free β-hCG) and pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A).
The levels of these substances can provide important information about the foetus's health.
What is the double marker test price?
The double marker test cost can vary depending on the healthcare facility or laboratory where the test is done. The average double marker test price can range from ₹ 1000 to ₹ 4000. However, some government hospitals and clinics may offer the test at a lower cost or even for free.
Why is a double marker test done during pregnancy?
A double marker test in pregnancy is done to screen for certain chromosomal abnormalities and neural tube defects in the developing foetus.
Chromosomal abnormalities can include conditions such as Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, and Patau syndrome, while neural tube defects can include conditions such as spina bifida.
Detecting these conditions early in pregnancy can allow for appropriate management and treatment.
When is a double marker test usually performed?
A double marker test is usually performed between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy. However, the exact timing can vary depending on the doctor’s opinion and the individual pregnancy.
What does a double marker test detect?
A double marker test detects specific chromosomal abnormalities and neural tube defects in the developing foetus. Specifically, the test measures the levels of two substances in the mother's blood, free beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (free β-hCG) and pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A). Abnormal levels of these substances can indicate a higher risk for chromosomal abnormalities or neural tube defects.
How is a double marker test performed?
A double marker test is a simple blood test done by taking a small blood sample from the mother's arm. After that, the sample is sent to the lab for assessment. The test results are usually available within one or two days.
Is the double marker test painful?
No, a double marker test is not painful. A blood sample is drawn from the woman's arm, which may cause mild discomfort or a pinch.
How long does it take to get the results of a double marker test?
The double marker test results are typically available within a few days. However, the exact timing varies depending on the healthcare facility or laboratory where the test is done.
How to read double marker test reports?
A double marker test report will typically include free beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (free β-hCG) and pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) levels in the mother's blood. Furthermore, it includes the calculated risk for specific chromosomal abnormalities and neural tube defects. The report may also include additional information or recommendations from the doctor.
Can I see the report image of my double marker test?
Patients can usually request a copy of their double marker test result report images from their doctor or the laboratory where the test was done.
What are the normal values for a double marker test?
The double marker test normal values can vary depending on the gestational age of the pregnancy and other factors. However, average values for beta-hCG are between 25700-288000 mIU/mL, and average values for PAPP-A are 1 MoM.
Another determining factor of the average values for a double marker test is the laboratory where the test was done and the specific gestational age of the pregnancy.
What does it mean if my double marker test result is abnormal?
If a double marker test result is abnormal, it may indicate a higher risk for certain chromosomal abnormalities or neural tube defects in the developing foetus. However, an abnormal result does not necessarily mean the foetus has a particular condition.
What are the possible causes of an abnormal double marker test result?
An abnormal double marker test result can be caused by multiple factors, including chromosomal abnormalities, neural tube defects, numerous pregnancies, incorrect gestational age, maternal factors such as obesity or smoking, or technical errors in the test itself.
Should I be concerned if my double marker test result is abnormal?
An abnormal double marker test result can be concerning, but it is essential to remember that an abnormal result does not necessarily mean that the foetus has a particular condition. Additional testing and evaluation may be needed to confirm the diagnosis and determine the best management course.
What should I do if my double marker test result is abnormal?
If a double marker test result is abnormal, the doctor may recommend additional testing or evaluation, such as a diagnostic test or ultrasound. The healthcare professional may also provide information and support to help the patient understand the results and make informed decisions about the next steps.
Can a double-marker test diagnose a specific condition?
A double marker test cannot diagnose a specific condition but can provide information about the risk for certain chromosomal abnormalities and neural tube defects in the developing foetus. Additional testing, such as diagnostic testing or ultrasound, may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
How accurate is a double marker test?
The accuracy of a double marker test varies depending on many factors, including the gestational age of the pregnancy, maternal factors such as obesity or smoking, and the specific laboratory where the test was done. However, the test generally has high sensitivity and specificity for detecting characteristic chromosomal abnormalities and neural tube defects.
Can the results of a double marker test be affected by medications?
Some medications, such as fertility drugs or hormone supplements, can affect free beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (free β-hCG) and pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) levels in the mother's blood and may affect the results of a double marker test. It is crucial to inform the doctor of the medications or supplements being taken.
Is a double marker test the same as a quad marker test?
No, a double marker test is not the same as a quad marker test. A quad marker test measures four substances in the mother's blood: alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), unconjugated estriol (uE3), free β-hCG, and inhibin A. The quad marker test is usually done between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy and can also screen for certain chromosomal abnormalities and neural tube defects.
How often should I get a double marker test done during my pregnancy?
The frequency of double marker testing during pregnancy can vary depending on the doctor and the individual pregnancy. In general, the test is usually done once. This occurs during the first trimester, between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy.
Are there any risks associated with a double marker test?
There are no significant risks associated with a double marker test. It consists of a simple procedure where an expert healthcare provider takes blood. This test carries a minimal risk of bleeding or infection.
Are NT scan and double marker tests the same?
No, an NT scan and a double marker test are not the same.
An NT (nuchal translucency) scan is an ultrasound that measures the thickness of the nuchal fold, a collection of fluid at the back of the foetus's neck, and can screen for specific chromosomal abnormalities and structural defects.
The double marker blood test is performed to check the levels of two substances in the mother's blood and screen for specific chromosomal abnormalities and neural tube defects.
Both tests are often done together as part of a first-trimester screening for fetal abnormalities.
What does a double marker test negative mean?
A double marker test negative means that the free beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (free β-hCG) and pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) levels in the mother's blood are within the normal range for the gestational age of the pregnancy. A double marker test negative result does not guarantee that the foetus is free from chromosomal abnormalities or neural tube defects but indicates a lower risk for these conditions.
All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.
- Bhardwaj K. Double Marker Test - Procedure, Benefits and Results | Metropolis TruHealth Blog [Internet]. Metropolis Blogs. 2022 [cited 2023 Jul 26].
- Double Marker Test: How It’s Done and What Results Mean [Internet]. Healthline. 2020 [cited 2023 Jul 26].
- Gynecologist A. Double Marker Test - Procedure, Normal Range, Benefits and Risks [Internet]. Apollo Hospitals Blog. 2022 [cited 2023 Jul 26].
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