Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate

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Overview
Interpretations
FAQ's
Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate

Overview of Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate

What is Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate?

Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) Test, also known as sedimentation rate test or sed rate test is a blood test which can detect inflammatory activity in the body. ESR test doesn’t diagnose one specific condition. Instead, it helps to diagnose or monitor the progress of an inflammatory disease.

Sample Type

The sample type collected for Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate is: Blood

Preparation for Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate

  • No special preparation required

Why Get Tested for Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate?

  • To detect any inflammation in the body which may be caused due to conditions such as infections, cancers, and autoimmune diseases

  • To monitor the progress of inflammatory diseases

  • To evaluate the response to treatment of inflammatory diseases





Understand more about Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate

The ESR test measures the rate at which red blood cells (erythrocytes) settle (sediment) at the bottom of a tube that contains a blood sample in one hour. The test result is expressed in millimeters per hour (mm/hr).

In the presence of inflammation, certain proteins mainly fibrinogen increase in blood. This high proportion of fibrinogen in the blood causes red blood cells to form a stack (rouleaux formation) which settle quickly due to their increased density.


The ESR test is a non-specific measure of inflammation. An ESR can be affected by conditions other than inflammation also. Although a high ESR can detect the presence of inflammation but it cannot provide any information regarding the cause and site of inflammation. Hence, an ESR test is done along with other tests to diagnose the cause of your symptoms.







What Results of Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate mean?

Interpretations

High ESR can be seen in:


  • Inflammatory disease such as Arthritis (Inflammation of joints), vasculitis (Inflammation of blood vessels)

  • Infection, such as pneumonia, pelvic inflammatory disease, appendicitis, skin infection, bone infection, heart valve infection

  • Autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis

  • Chronic kidney disease

  • Viral infections

  • Pregnancy

  • Cancer, such as lymphoma or multiple myeloma



Low ESR can be seen in:

  • Congestive heart failure

  • Polycythemia

  • Sickle cell disease

  • Severe liver disease

  • Hypofibrinogenemia


Patient Concerns about Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate

Frequently Asked Questions about Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate

Q. How is this test performed?
This test is performed on a blood sample. A syringe with a fine needle attached is used to withdraw blood sample from a blood vessel in your arm generally from the inner side of the elbow area. The doctor, nurse or the phlebotomist will tie an elastic band around your arm which will help the blood vessels to swell with blood and hence makes it easier to withdraw blood. You may be asked to tightly clench your fist. Once the veins are clearly visible, the area is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and then the needle is inserted into the blood vessel to collect the sample. You may feel a tiny pinprick during the procedure. Blood sample once collected is then sent to the laboratory.
Q. Is there any risk associated with this test?
There is no risk associated with the test. However, as this test involves a needle prick to withdraw the blood sample, rarely, a patient may experience increased bleeding, hematoma (blood collection under the skin) formation, bruising or infection at the site of needle prick.
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