Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
Why this test?
To diagnose the diseases associated with acute or chronic inflammation, including infections, cancer and autoimmune diseases. The ESR determination is both sensitive and one of the least specific laboratory tests, since an increase in ESR in the blood does not allow determining the source of inflammation, moreover, it can occur not only due to inflammation. That is why ESR analysis is usually used in conjunction with other tests.
In what cases is it prescribed?
- In case of diagnosing and monitoring: inflammatory, infectious, oncological and autoimmune diseases.
- In case of conducting preventive examinations together with other tests (general blood test, leukocyte formula, etc.).
Information about the test
Determination of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is an indirect method of detecting an inflammatory, autoimmune or oncological disease. This test is based on the ability of erythrocytes (deprived of the possibility of blood clotting) to settle under the influence of gravity. An increased pathological proteins level found in the liquid part of the blood, as well as some other proteins (the so-called ""acute phase proteins"" that appear during inflammation), contributes to the ""gluing"" of erythrocytes. Due to this, they settle faster and the ESR increases. It turns out that any acute or chronic inflammation can lead to an increase in ESR in the blood.
The fewer erythrocytes, the faster they settle, that’s why women's ESR is higher than men's. The norm of ESR is different, depending on gender and age.