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Test Details
Test Code:PL0374
Test Name:Triple Marker
Test Details & Preparation
Between the 15th and 20th weeks of pregnancy, expectant mothers usually are offered a blood test called the multiple marker test. Sometimes called a triple screen or a quad screen, depending on the number of things measured, it also might be done in combination with blood tests and an ultrasound in the first trimester.

For the triple marker screening, a sample of blood is drawn from the mother to measure the levels of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), which is made by the placenta estriol, which is made by the placenta and the foetus and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), which is made by the foetus.

Sometimes the level of inhibin-A, which is made by the placenta, also is measured. The levels of these substances can help doctors identify a foetus at risk for certain birth defects, including neural tube defects (like spina bifida) and some chromosomal abnormalities (like Down syndrome).

In determining the results of the test, doctors take into account factors such as the mother's age, weight, and ethnicity whether she has diabetes if she is having twins or other multiples the gestational age of the foetus.

These variables can affect the levels of the substances being measured and the interpretation of the test results, so the accuracy of this information is vital. If any of the information is incorrect, the screening results might be inaccurate.

If you have undergone the triple marker test and received abnormal results, there is no need to worry yet. Just because the test is abnormal doesn't mean that your child has a birth defect or chromosomal abnormality. Rather, an abnormal screen indicates that the foetus should be evaluated further.

Usually, when a pregnant woman's results show high levels of AFP, pointing to a possible risk of spina bifida or another neural tube defect, her doctor will order a detailed ultrasound to examine the foetus, including the foetal skull and spine.

If a woman's multiple marker screen results reveal low levels of AFP and estriol and high levels of hCG and inhibin-A, she has an increased risk of having a baby with Down syndrome.
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