Pathology Handbook

ESR

Synonyms

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

Availability

On request. May be requested urgently in suspected temporal arteritis

Patient Preparation

None

Turnaround Time

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

Specimen

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

Volume

4.5 ml

Container

Purple  EDTA

Vacutainer purple top

Collection

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.

Interpretation

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