Breaking News
May 25, 2018 - FDA approves novel enzyme therapy for adults with rare and serious genetic disease
May 25, 2018 - New research project aims at developing effective interventions for kids with DLD
May 25, 2018 - Middlemen who save $$ on medicines — but maybe not for you
May 25, 2018 - Study sheds new light on sharp rise in fatal drug overdoses in recent years
May 25, 2018 - TNFi Exposure In Utero Does Not Up Serious Infection Risk
May 25, 2018 - Organization of cells in the inner ear enables the sense and sensitivity of hearing
May 25, 2018 - Yoga May Be Right Move Against Urinary Incontinence
May 25, 2018 - New cytokine network can repair tissue damage in the intestine, study finds
May 25, 2018 - Lyme disease researcher dispels misconceptions about ticks and provides prevention tips
May 25, 2018 - Penn researchers find link between social media usage and underage drinking
May 25, 2018 - Unique nanotechnology method to simplify skin disease diagnosis
May 25, 2018 - Study reveals new protective mechanism for tumor cells in breast cancer
May 25, 2018 - FRAME Alternatives Laboratory chosen for major European liver research collaboration
May 25, 2018 - Study shows yogurt may dampen chronic inflammation linked to multiple diseases
May 25, 2018 - Invasive cancers that are born to be bad show detectable differences from harmless tumors
May 25, 2018 - Study identifies new mechanism involved in development of Lou Gehrig’s disease
May 25, 2018 - UAB professor receives award for malaria prevention study in pregnant women in Cameroon
May 25, 2018 - Study provides blueprint of how fruit flies can be used to screen potentially pathogenic human genes
May 25, 2018 - New drug-delivering nanoparticle could offer better way to treat brain tumors
May 25, 2018 - Kessler Foundation scientists compare two tests for assessing learning in individuals with MS
May 25, 2018 - Stroke Symptoms and Diagnosis (Beyond the Basics)
May 25, 2018 - Protein goes against the family to prevent cancer
May 25, 2018 - Drugmakers blamed for blocking generics have milked prices and cost U.S. billions
May 25, 2018 - Speakers announced for National Medicines Symposium 2018
May 25, 2018 - GSK Receives FDA Approval of Arnuity Ellipta for Asthma in Children From 5 Years of Age
May 25, 2018 - Pfizer settles kickback case related to copay assistance for $24m
May 25, 2018 - Nuclear pore functions are essential for T cell survival
May 25, 2018 - Study defines molecular basis to explain connection between mother’s nutrition and infant growth
May 24, 2018 - IHI hosts representatives to develop a national action plan for patient safety
May 24, 2018 - Zika detection breakthrough by University of Queensland
May 24, 2018 - FDA Alert: 95% Ethyl Alcohol Product by Ethanol Extraction: Recall
May 24, 2018 - New method allows scientists to study how HIV persists
May 24, 2018 - Study reveals rate of vertebral and non-vertebral fractures in children with leukemia
May 24, 2018 - Whey protein supplementation and physical activity aid women in improving body composition
May 24, 2018 - Seniors’ air pollution exposure linked to hospitalization for ARDS
May 24, 2018 - Home-based telehealth therapy program effective for stroke rehabilitation, shows study
May 24, 2018 - Addressing Parents’ HPV Vaccine Hesitancy Ups Vaccination Rates
May 24, 2018 - Opioid addiction treatment drug helps suppress HIV in former prisoners
May 24, 2018 - FDA warns against using teething remedies for babies
May 24, 2018 - Healthy lifestyle counseling program linked to reduced risk of developing cancers
May 24, 2018 - CU research sheds light on liver disease caused by intravenous nutrition
May 24, 2018 - Skin cream containing rapamycin reduces TSC-related facial tumors
May 24, 2018 - Suicide rates twice as high among black children finds new study
May 24, 2018 - Researchers find new method to treat severe asthma
May 24, 2018 - Scientists report new strategy for fighting bacteria
May 24, 2018 - South Asians living in the United States more likely to die of heart disease and stroke
May 24, 2018 - Health Tip: Why Get a Biopsy
May 24, 2018 - Metabolic Syndrome Prevalence by Race/Ethnicity and Sex in the United States, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988–2012
May 24, 2018 - Motivation to move may start with being mindful
May 24, 2018 - Advanced genetics study of TB bacteria uncovers virulent ‘Beijing lineage’ strain among young adults
May 24, 2018 - Friends tend to have similar pain tolerance levels, study reveals
May 24, 2018 - International researchers succeed in stopping growth of mesothelioma in model animals
May 24, 2018 - Inactive people find high-intensity interval training to be as enjoyable as traditional exercise
May 24, 2018 - Now more of us can count on more time dodging the dementia bullet
May 24, 2018 - Scientists develop new test to predict woman’s risk of preterm birth
May 24, 2018 - Global healthcare access and quality improved from 2000-2016
May 24, 2018 - Virtual follow-up visits for hypertension care just as effective as in-person office visits
May 24, 2018 - New research reveals links between type 1 diabetes and mental health
May 24, 2018 - Antioxidant-enriched multivitamin may decrease respiratory illnesses in CF patients, finds study
May 24, 2018 - Antidepressant treatments increase risk of weight gain, study finds
May 24, 2018 - INSYS Therapeutics Confirms Outcome of FDA Advisory Committee Meeting on Buprenorphine Sublingual Spray
May 24, 2018 - Poor older adults with Medicaid insurance more likely to die after hospital discharge
May 24, 2018 - Early-life obesity linked to children’s lower perceptual reasoning and working memory scores
May 24, 2018 - Health and diagnostics to soon be digitalized with advent of AI
May 24, 2018 - USC researchers develop new portable device for early-stage malaria detection
May 24, 2018 - Psychologists show that depression accelerates brain aging
May 24, 2018 - Novel IR imaging offers rapid and reliable analysis of cancer tissues
May 24, 2018 - Tau mutations may serve as novel risk factor for cancer
May 24, 2018 - Sun Pharma Announces FDA Approval of Yonsa (abiraterone acetate) to Treat Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer
May 24, 2018 - Nurse dead in Congo as Ebola vaccination campaign starts
May 24, 2018 - Unique imaging technique identifies biomarkers of cellular damage done by diabetic retinopathy
May 24, 2018 - Study identifies key food allergy policies that parents want in schools to improve safety of kids
May 24, 2018 - Formaldehyde risk found to be higher in e-cigarettes than originally thought
May 24, 2018 - NIH commences first-in-human trial evaluating experimental treatment for Ebola
May 24, 2018 - Study finds no link between surveillance intensity and detection of recurrence or survival in CRC patients
May 24, 2018 - FDA Alert: Oral Over-the-Counter Benzocaine Products: Drug Safety Communication
May 24, 2018 - Fiber-fermenting bacteria improve health of type 2 diabetes patients
May 24, 2018 - Free e-cigarettes do not help smokers quit, money does finds study
May 24, 2018 - Higher exposure to carbon monoxide in utero increases risk of poor lung function in infants
May 24, 2018 - Neurologists identify new type of vertigo
Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

What is an Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) Test?

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is a protein produced in the liver of a developing fetus. During a baby’s development, some AFP passes through the placenta and into the mother’s blood. An AFP test measures the level of AFP in pregnant women during the second trimester of pregnancy. Too much or too little AFP in a mother’s blood may be sign of a birth defect or other condition. These include:

  • A neural tube defect, a serious condition that causes abnormal development of a developing baby’s brain and/or spine
  • Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes intellectual disabilities and developmental delays
  • Twins or multiple births, because more than one baby is producing AFP
  • Miscalculation of due date, because AFP levels change during pregnancy

Other names: AFP Maternal; Maternal Serum AFP; msAFP screen

What is it used for?

An AFP blood test is used to check a developing fetus for risk of birth defects, such as neural tube defects or Down syndrome.

Why do I need an AFP test?

The American Pregnancy Association says that all pregnant women should be offered an AFP test sometime between the 15th and 20th week of pregnancy. The test may be especially recommended if you:

  • Have a family history of birth defects
  • Are 35 years or older
  • Have diabetes

What happens during an AFP test?

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparation for an AFP test.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to you or your baby with an AFP blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly. Another test called amniocentesis provides a more accurate diagnosis of Down syndrome and other birth defects, but the test has a small risk of causing a miscarriage.

What do the results mean?

If your results show higher than normal AFP levels, it may mean your baby has a neural tube defect such as spina bifida, a condition in which the bones of the spine don’t close around the spinal cord, or anencephaly, a condition in which the brain does not develop properly.

If your results show lower than normal AFP levels, it may mean your baby has a genetic disorder such as Down syndrome, a condition that causes intellectual and developmental problems.

If your AFP levels are not normal, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem with your baby.
It may mean you are having more than one baby or that your due date is wrong. You may also get
a false-positive result. That means your results show a problem, but your baby is healthy.
If your results show a higher or lower than normal level of AFP, you will likely get more tests to help make a diagnosis.

Is there anything else I need to know about an AFP test?

AFP tests are often part of a series of prenatal tests called multiple marker or triple screen tests. In addition to AFP, a triple screen test includes tests for hCG, a hormone produced by the placenta, and estriol, a form of estrogen made by the fetus. These tests can help diagnose Down syndrome and other genetic disorders.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles