17-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP) Test

17-OHP Test, 17-Hydroxyprogesterone Blood Test, Serum 17-Hydroxyprogesterone Test

BodyBrainAI Team
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The 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP) test is a blood test that measures levels of 17-OHP, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It is primarily used to screen for and help diagnose congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a genetic disorder affecting cortisol production.

What is the 17-Hydroxyprogesterone Test?

The 17-OHP test measures the amount of the hormone 17-hydroxyprogesterone in the blood. 17-OHP is produced by the adrenal glands and is a precursor to other hormones like cortisol and sex hormones.

Levels of 17-OHP are normally low. Elevated levels can indicate disorders of the adrenal glands like congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) where abnormalities in certain enzymes exist.

The 17-OHP blood test requires collecting a blood sample and analyzing it using laboratory immunoassays. Results are reported in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).

What is the 17-OHP Test Used For?

The main uses of the 17-OHP test include:

  • Screening newborns for congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), the most common use

  • Diagnosing CAH in symptom-presenting children and adults

  • Monitoring CAH treatment with steroids to ensure adequate control

  • Evaluating precocious puberty or ambiguous genitalia at birth

  • Investigating adrenal tumors like adrenocortical carcinoma

  • Confirming diagnosis of conditions that mimic CAH like PCOS

How is the 17-OHP Test Performed?

The 17-OHP test follows standard blood draw procedures:

  1. The patient's arm is cleaned with an antiseptic wipe at the venipuncture site.

  2. A tourniquet is applied above the venipuncture site to engorge the vein.

  3. A needle is inserted into the vein to collect blood into attached vials.

  4. Pressure is applied once the needle is removed to stop bleeding.

  5. Collected blood is processed and tested using immunoassay methods.

  6. Results are analyzed by the lab physician and reported to the ordering provider.

What Does the 17-OHP Test Screen For?

Specifically, the 17-OHP test screens for:

  • Elevated 17-OHP levels indicating congenital adrenal hyperplasia or adrenal disorders

  • Abnormal enzymes needed for cortisol production

  • Defects in steroid synthesis by the adrenal glands

Why Do I Need a 17-OHP Test?

Your doctor may order a 17-OHP test if:

  • Your newborn has ambiguous genitalia or abnormal newborn screening results

  • You display symptoms of CAH like early puberty, fatigue, hormonal problems

  • You need CAH monitoring while on steroid therapy

  • To differentiate CAH from other conditions like PCOS or Cushing's syndrome

  • You have a family history of CAH

  • An adrenal gland tumor is suspected

What Do I Need to Do to Prepare for a 17-OHP Test?

No special preparation is needed beyond normal blood draw requirements:

  • Inform your doctor about any medications you are taking

  • Avoid taking steroids or estrogen for at least 1-2 days before the test as they can suppress 17-OHP levels

  • Fast for 8-12 hours before the test for most accurate baseline levels

  • Remain seated during the blood draw to prevent fainting

  • Drink plenty of water the day before to hydrate your veins

How Long Does it Take to Get 17-OHP Test Results?

  • Blood draw: 5-10 minutes

  • Test results: 1-3 days

How Do I Interpret My 17-OHP Test Results?

Reference ranges can vary based on factors like age and lab. General interpretation includes:

  • Normal: Less than 200-300 ng/dL

  • Elevated: Over 300 ng/dL often indicates CAH

  • Newborn screening cutoff: Over 30,000 ng/dL is positive

  • Inconclusive: Results close to cutoffs may require retesting

Discuss your specific test results with your doctor to understand what they mean for your health. Additional follow-up testing like genotyping may be needed to confirm CAH. Ongoing monitoring helps optimize treatments.

With the proper preparation, the 17-OHP test can screen for adrenal disorders or effectively monitor CAH treatment. Understanding test results empowers patients to access the best care. If you have any concerns about having a 17-OHP test or what your results mean, speak with your healthcare provider.

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