Pathology Handbook



Erythrocyte sedimentation rate, Westergren, Sed Rate

Clinical Indications

Non- specific test that measures the inflammatory response to tissue injury (acute phase reaction) which occurs in acute infection, during active phases of chronic inflammation and following injury. However it is specifically useful in the diagnosis and monitoring of temporal/ giant cell arthritis and polymyalgia rheumatica

Request Form 

Request on ICE


On request. May be requested urgently in suspected temporal arteritis

Patient Preparation


Turnaround Time

Same day routine working hours; test may be performed urgently if clinical need requires as in suspected cases of temporal arteritis


EDTA : sample must be received in the laboratory within 4 hours of collection


4.5 ml


Purple  EDTA

Vacutainer purple top


Sample must be received in the laboratory within 4 hours of collection.

Causes for Rejection

Incorrect sample labelling, inadequate / clotted / sample too old. 

Reference Range

Age and sex related ranges apply: see patient test report.


The ESR progressively increases in old age and is raised in pregnancy.

The ESR increase is slow to respond to and resolve after acute phase reaction and a CRP should be considered as a more sensitive early indicator