Alpha fetoprotein - amniotic fluid

Last updated: Tuesday, 06, April, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

Amniotic fluid collected between 14 and 16 weeks gestation.

Method

Immunoassay.

Reference Interval
Dependent on method and related to period of gestation. Consult pathologist.
Application

Detection of neural tube defects and some other fetal abnormalities.

The test is usually only done when there is a confirmed elevation of serum α-fetoprotein or an abnormal ultrasound.

Interpretation

Consult pathologist.

High levels may be found in association with neural tube defects and other abnormalities eg, exomphalos, oesophageal atresia, congenital nephrotic syndrome.

High levels are also found if there is contamination of the amniotic fluid sample with fetal blood.

Reference

Benn PA. Clin Chim Acta 2002; 323(1-2): 1-16.