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ESR Test

ESR Test

ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) is a blood test which measures the time taken for red blood cells to settle in a vertical tube. It is a relatively non-specific test that is related to the degree of inflammation in the body, which indirectly affects how avidly red blood cells clump together.

How the Test is Performed

ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) is a blood test, and requires a few millilitres of blood from a vein. It is important that the tube is filled to the correct level.

Medical Conditions and Symptoms

An ESR is a relatively non-specific test that gives a limited idea about inflammation in the body. It is often requested for conditions such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis), septic arthritis (infection in a joint), or Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA, a condition which may occur with Polymyalgia Rheumatica – PMR). The test may be used to follow the progression or resolution of one of these illnesses as they are treated. Occasionally, the ESR is used to try to exclude one of these conditions, when the diagnosis is not clear.

Test Results Explained

The ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) normally increases with advancing age. Generally, a high ESR indicates a higher degree of inflammation, although the ESR can be normal in the early stages of an illness. The ESR will usually fall with successful treatment or resolution of a condition, although it may lag behind the observed clinical improvement in symptoms.

Related Specialists

Related Procedures

  • Blood Test (venesection)
  • Joint Aspiration

Related Tests

Also Known As

  • Sedimentation Rate
  • “Sed Rate”


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