Imperial Collage Healthcare

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Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)


Lab Code : ESR


Test Background
The ESR is a measurement of the rate of fall of red blood cells. The rate at which red cells fall, or sediment, is influenced by the extent to which they form rouleaux – red blood cells clumped together in distinctive ‘stacks’ like coins. Rouleaux formation of red cells means that the red cells fall at a greater rate than individual red cells. The formation of rouleaux is accelerated by the presence of acute phase proteins, which can occur in a wide variety of infective and inflammatory conditions.


Clinical Indications
Diagnosis of multiple myeloma, temporal arteritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, various autoimmune diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis, TB, endocarditis and chronic kidney diseases Differential diagnosis of Kawasaki’s disease Monitoring therapeutic response in temporal arteritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, rheumatoid arthritis and some lymphomas


Reference Range
Male <10 mm/h Female <20 mm/h


Sample Required
4 mL EDTA (lavender top) at Charing Cross Hospital and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital VesMatic ESR tube (black top) Hammersmith Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital


Sample Volume
1 mL


Turnaround Time
4 hours


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