Dual Marker Test: Procedure, Price and Benefits

by | Mar 17, 2023 | Pregnancy

What is Dual Marker Test?

The dual marker test, also known as the double marker test, is a prenatal screening test used to detect the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in a developing fetus. The test measures the levels of two hormones, namely human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A), in the mother’s blood. These hormones are produced by the placenta, and their levels can indicate the presence of certain chromosomal abnormalities, including Down syndrome.

The dual marker test is typically performed between the 10th and 13th weeks of pregnancy, which is considered the optimal time for detecting chromosomal abnormalities. The test is non-invasive and involves drawing a small sample of blood from the mother. The blood sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis, and the results are typically available within a few days.

 

Why Dual Marker Blood Test is done?

The dual marker test is done to assess the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in a developing fetus, particularly with Down syndrome. Down syndrome is a genetic condition that is caused by the presence of an extra copy of chromosome 21. The condition affects the physical and intellectual development of the individual, and it is typically associated with distinctive facial features and some degree of cognitive impairment.

The dual marker test is a non-invasive way to assess the risk of Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus. The test is typically offered to all pregnant women, but it is particularly recommended for women who are at higher risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities, including women who are 35 years of age or older, women who have a family history of chromosomal abnormalities, and women who have had abnormal results on previous prenatal screening tests.

If the results of the dual marker test indicate an increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities, further testing may be recommended to confirm the diagnosis. This may include additional blood tests or imaging tests such as ultrasound or amniocentesis. It is important to note that the dual marker test is not a diagnostic test, and a positive result does not necessarily mean that the fetus has a chromosomal abnormality.

In summary, the dual marker test is a non-invasive prenatal screening test that measures the levels of two hormones in the mother’s blood to assess the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the developing fetus. The test is typically offered to all pregnant women and is particularly recommended for women who are at higher risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities. While a positive result on the dual marker test does not confirm a diagnosis of chromosomal abnormality, it can indicate a need for further testing to confirm the diagnosis and determine the appropriate next steps.

 

When is the Dual Marker Test Recommended?

The dual marker test is recommended for all pregnant women, particularly those who are at higher risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities. This includes women who are 35 years of age or older, women who have a family history of chromosomal abnormalities, and women who have had abnormal results on previous prenatal screening tests. The test is typically performed between the 10th and 13th weeks of pregnancy, which is considered the optimal time for detecting chromosomal abnormalities.

 

Right Time for the Dual Marker Test:

The dual marker test is typically performed between the 10th and 13th weeks of pregnancy. This is because the levels of the two hormones, HCG and PAPP-A, produced by the placenta are at their highest during this time. The test can still be performed later in pregnancy, but the accuracy of the test may be reduced.

It is important to note that the dual marker test is not a diagnostic test, and a positive result does not necessarily mean that the fetus has a chromosomal abnormality. A positive result simply indicates an increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities, and further testing may be required to confirm the diagnosis.

 

How to Prepare for the Dual Marker Test?

Preparing for the marker test is relatively simple, and there are no specific preparations that need to be made. However, it is important to inform your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking or any medical conditions you may have. Some medications or medical conditions can affect the accuracy of the test results.

During the test, a small sample of blood will be taken from a vein in your arm. You may feel a slight prick or sting as the needle is inserted, but this discomfort is usually brief. There is no need to fast or make any other special preparations before the test.

After the test, you can resume your normal activities. The test results will typically be available within a few days, and your healthcare provider will discuss the results with you and recommend any further testing that may be required.

The dual marker test is recommended for all pregnant women, particularly those who are at higher risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities. The test is typically performed between the 10th and 13th weeks of pregnancy when the levels of the hormones produced by the placenta are at their highest. Preparing for the test is simple, and there are no specific preparations that need to be made. If you have any concerns or questions about the test, be sure to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

 

Why is Dual Marker Test Done in Pregnancy?

Dual Marker Test in Pregnancy

Dual Marker Test in Pregnancy

The dual marker test is done in pregnancy to screen for chromosomal abnormalities in the developing fetus. Chromosomal abnormalities are genetic conditions that result from errors in the number or structure of chromosomes. The most common chromosomal abnormality is Down syndrome, which is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21.

The marker test measures the levels of two hormones, HCG and PAPP-A, in the mother’s blood. These hormones are produced by the placenta, and their levels can indicate the presence of chromosomal abnormalities in the developing fetus. If the test results indicate an increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities, further testing may be recommended to confirm the diagnosis.

When is the Dual Marker Test in Pregnancy Required?

The dual marker test is typically recommended for all pregnant women, but it is particularly important for women who are at higher risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities. This includes women who are 35 years of age or older, women who have a family history of chromosomal abnormalities, and women who have had abnormal results on previous prenatal screening tests.

The test is usually performed between the 10th and 13th weeks of pregnancy, which is considered the optimal time for detecting chromosomal abnormalities. However, the test can still be performed later in pregnancy if necessary.

 

How is a Dual Marker Test in Pregnancy Conducted?

The dual marker test is a simple and non-invasive blood test that can be performed in a healthcare provider’s office or a laboratory. The test involves drawing a small sample of blood from the mother’s arm and measuring the levels of HCG and PAPP-A in the blood.

To prepare for the test, there are no specific instructions to follow. However, it is important to inform your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking or any medical conditions you may have, as these can affect the accuracy of the test results.

During the test, a healthcare provider will clean the skin on your arm with an antiseptic and then insert a small needle into a vein to draw a sample of blood. You may feel a slight pinch or sting as the needle is inserted, but the discomfort is usually brief.

After the blood sample is taken, it is sent to a laboratory for analysis. The test results are usually available within a few days, and your healthcare provider will discuss the results with you and recommend any further testing that may be required.

In summary, the dual marker test is a non-invasive blood test that is performed in pregnancy to screen for chromosomal abnormalities in the developing fetus. The test measures the levels of two hormones, HCG and PAPP-A, in the mother’s blood and is typically recommended for all pregnant women, particularly those who are at higher risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities. The test is simple and can be performed in a healthcare provider’s office or a laboratory, and the results are usually available within a few days.

 

The Procedure of Dual Marker Test Screening:

The dual marker test is a screening test that involves a simple blood draw from the mother. The test is usually performed between the 10th and 13th weeks of pregnancy. The blood sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis, where the levels of two hormones, hCG and PAPP-A, are measured.

The test results are then compared to the average risk for a woman of the same age to determine the likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities in the developing fetus.

The marker test is a non-invasive screening test, which means that it does not pose a risk to the developing fetus. However, it is important to note that the test is not a diagnostic test, and further testing may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

 

Risks Associated with Dual Marker Test:

The dual marker test is a relatively safe and non-invasive test, and there are few risks associated with the procedure. The most common risk is a false positive result, which means that the test indicates a high risk of chromosomal abnormalities when the fetus is actually healthy.

False positive results can be caused by a number of factors, including maternal age, maternal weight, and certain medical conditions such as diabetes. If you receive a positive test result, your healthcare provider may recommend further testing to confirm the diagnosis.

It is also important to note that the dual marker test is a screening test and not a diagnostic test. This means that the test can indicate whether you are at higher risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities, but it cannot provide a definitive diagnosis.

 

Benefits of Dual Marker Test

The Dual Marker Test offers several benefits for expectant mothers and their babies. These include:

  1. Early detection of chromosomal abnormalities: The test can help detect chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome during the first trimester of pregnancy, allowing for early intervention and treatment if necessary.
  2. Non-invasive: The Dual Marker Test is a non-invasive screening test, which means it doesn’t involve any needles or invasive procedures. This can reduce the risk of complications and discomfort for the mother and the baby.
  3. Low-risk: The Marker Test is a low-risk screening test, with minimal risk of complications or side effects.
  4. Peace of mind: The test results can provide expectant mothers with peace of mind and reduce anxiety and stress related to the possibility of chromosomal abnormalities in their babies.
  5. Informed decision-making: The test results can help expectant mothers and their healthcare providers make informed decisions about the pregnancy, such as whether to pursue further diagnostic testing or prepare for the possibility of a child with special needs.

Also Read: NT NB Scan

What to Expect from Dual Marker Test Result?

The dual marker test is a prenatal screening test that measures the levels of two hormones, hCG and PAPP-A, in the mother’s blood. The test is performed between the 10th and 13th weeks of pregnancy and is used to screen for chromosomal abnormalities in the developing fetus, particularly Down syndrome.

When you receive the results of your dual marker test, it is important to remember that the test is a screening test and not a diagnostic test. This means that the test can indicate whether you are at higher risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities, but it cannot provide a definitive diagnosis.

If your test results are abnormal, your healthcare provider may recommend further testing to confirm the diagnosis. It is important to discuss your test results with your healthcare provider and to ask any questions you may have.

Also Read: Triple Marker Test 

Standard Results of Dual Marker Test:

The standard results of the marker test indicate the likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities in the developing fetus. The test results are reported as a risk ratio or as a probability, and they are compared to the average risk for a woman of the same age.

For example, if your test results indicate a risk ratio of 1 in 100, this means that your risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities is 1 in 100, which is considered high. If your test results indicate a risk ratio of 1 in 1000, this means that your risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities is 1 in 1000, which is considered low.

It is important to remember that the test results are not a definitive diagnosis, and further testing may be recommended to confirm the diagnosis.

 

Abnormal Results of Dual Marker Test:

If your dual marker test results are abnormal, it means that your risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities is higher than average. This may be due to a number of factors, including maternal age, family history, or previous abnormal test results.

If your test results are abnormal, your healthcare provider may recommend further testing to confirm the diagnosis. This may include diagnostic tests such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis.

It is important to discuss your test results with your healthcare provider and to understand the implications of the results. While an abnormal test result can be concerning, it is important to remember that further testing may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

In summary, the dual marker test is a prenatal screening test that measures the levels of two hormones, HCG and PAPP-A, in the mother’s blood to screen for chromosomal abnormalities in the developing fetus. The test results are reported as a risk ratio or probability, and if the results are abnormal, further testing may be recommended to confirm the diagnosis. It is important to discuss your test results with your healthcare provider and to understand the implications of the results.

 

Accuracy of Dual Marker Test:

The Dual Marker Test, also known as the Dual Screening Test or the Double Marker Test, is a prenatal screening test that helps in the detection of chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus. In India, this test is commonly used during the first trimester of pregnancy to screen for Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities.

The accuracy of the Marker Test in India is generally considered to be high, with a sensitivity of around 85-90% and a specificity of around 97-99%. However, it’s important to note that no screening test is 100% accurate, and in some cases, the test results may be false positive or false negative.

It’s also important to understand that the Marker Test is a screening test, not a diagnostic test. If the test results indicate a high risk of chromosomal abnormalities, further diagnostic tests such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) may be recommended to confirm the diagnosis.

Dual Marker Test Price in India:

Dual Marker Test Price

Dual Marker Test Price

The cost of the Dual Marker Test in India can vary depending on the location and the healthcare provider. On average, the test may cost between Rs. 2000-5000. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the cost of the test may not be covered by insurance, and some healthcare providers may charge additional fees for counselling and interpretation of the test results. It’s important to discuss the cost and any potential additional fees with the healthcare provider before undergoing the test.

Also Read: HSG Test Price

FAQs:

Q: What is a dual marker test?

A: A Dual Marker Test, also known as the Screening Test or the Double Marker Test, is a prenatal screening test that helps in the detection of chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus. It’s commonly used during the first trimester of pregnancy to screen for Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities.

Q: What if dual marker test is positive?

A: If the Dual Marker Test is positive, it indicates that the pregnancy has a higher risk of chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome. Further diagnostic tests, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS), may be recommended to confirm the diagnosis.

Q: What is dual marker test in pregnancy?

A: The Dual Marker Test in pregnancy is a prenatal screening test that helps in the detection of chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus. It involves a blood test that measures the levels of two specific substances in the mother’s blood during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Q: Does dual marker test show baby gender?

A: No, the Dual Marker Test does not show the baby’s gender. It’s a prenatal screening test that detects the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, not the gender of the baby.

Q: In which month dual marker test is done?

A: The Marker Test is usually done during the first trimester of pregnancy, between 10 to 13 weeks of gestation.

Q: Is NT scan and dual marker test same?

A: No, the NT scan and Dual Marker Test are not the same. The NT scan, or nuchal translucency scan, is an ultrasound scan that measures the fluid at the back of the baby’s neck to screen for Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. The Dual Marker Test, on the other hand, is a blood test that measures the levels of two specific substances in the mother’s blood.

Q: What is dual marker test cost in India?

A: The cost of the Dual Marker Test in India can vary depending on the location and the healthcare provider. On average, the test may cost between Rs. 2000-5000.

Q: Can I skip dual marker test? A: While the Marker Test is not mandatory, it’s recommended for expectant mothers to undergo prenatal screening tests to detect any potential chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus. It’s important to discuss any concerns or questions with a healthcare provider before deciding to skip the test.

Q: What is the normal range for dual marker?

A: The normal range for the Dual Marker Test may vary depending on the laboratory that conducts the test. Generally, the normal range for the two specific substances measured in the test are as follows: Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) – between 0.5 to 2.0 MoM (multiples of median), and Free beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG) – between 0.5 to 2.5 MoM.

Q: Is dual marker test necessary?

A: While the Marker Test is not mandatory, it’s recommended for expectant mothers to undergo prenatal screening tests to detect any potential chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus. Early detection can help in the management of the pregnancy and provide options for further diagnostic testing or intervention if necessary.

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    Dr Mona Dahiya

    Dr Mona Dahiya

    IVF Specialist & Consultant

    Dr Mona Dahiya has performed over 5,000+ IVF cycles and is considered a global expert in IVF, ICSI, IUI and male fertility treatment. She is an eminent writer on Infertility Treatment and has over 100 Publications in both International and National Journals. Dr Mona Dahiya has immensely contributed to the field of infertility through her Research and articles.

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