Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate 

Updated: Aug 01, 2014
  • Author: Christopher P Kellner, MD; Chief Editor: Thomas M Wheeler, MD  more...
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Reference Range

The reference range for erthyrocyte sedimentation rate is as follows:

Adults (Westergren method)

See the list below:

  • Men under 50 years old: < 15 mm/hr
  • Men over 50 years old: < 20 mm/hr
  • Women under 50 years old: < 20 mm/hr
  • Women over 50 years old: < 30 mm/hr

Children (Westergren method)

See the list below:

  • Newborn: 0-2 mm/hr
  • Newborn to puberty: 3-13 mm/hr
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Interpretation

Conditions that may be associated with a highly elevated ESR (>100 mm/hr) include the following:

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Collection and Panels

Specifics for collection and panels are as follows:

  • Specimen type: Whole blood
  • Container: Vacutainer, lavender top or black top
  • Collection method: Venipuncture
  • Specimen volume: 4 mL

Related tests

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Background

Description

The rate at which red blood cells settle out when anticoagulated whole blood is allowed to stand is known as the erythrocyte sedimentation rate. The ESR is affected by the concentrations of immunoglobulins and acute phase proteins (fibrinogen, C-reactive protein, alpha-1 antitrypsin, haptoglobin), and is a sensitive, but nonspecific, indicator of inflammation and tissue damage. [1, 2, 3]

Indications/Applications

The ESR is a nonspecific test that is often used as a screening test for patients with unexplained fevers, certain types of arthritis, muscle symptoms, or other vague symptoms of unknown origin.

Significant specific indications for ESR testing include the following:

  • Diagnosis and monitoring of giant cell arteritis
  • Diagnosis and monitoring of polymyalgia rheumatic [4]
  • Monitoring of rheumatoid arthritis

Considerations

Other conditions that may be associated with an elevated ESR include the following:

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