Did you ever know what a ESR meant?

Did you ever know what a ESR meant?

Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) is a time-honored, simple, inexpensive, most widely used laboratory test for monitoring the course of infections, inflammatory diseases, and some types of cancer.

Just to get more clarity on the method for testing: There are several test methods developed recently, and as a result the safety and reliability of ESR testing procedures have improved. The International Council for Standardization in Hematology and the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards for ESR measurement have approved the test which is based on the traditional Westergren method, using EDTA-anticoagulated samples without dilution.

Whenever ESR is raised there could be several interpretations:

  • The most frequently thought about are infection, especially Tuberculosis ,chronic bronchitis, rheumatoid arthritis and renal failure.
  • In cases ofmyocardial infarctions, ankylosing spondylitis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis also raised ESR’s are observed.
  • ESR may be useful in establishing a “sickness index” in elderly persons who have nonspecific changes in health status and a moderate probability of underlying disease; in screening for infection in specific settings.
  • An ESR value exceeding 100 mm/hr has a 90% predictive value for serious underlying disease, most often infection, collagen vascular disease, or metastatic tumor.
  • Raised erythrocyte sedimentation rates are observed in patients without an acute phase reaction, in cases when hematological disorders including anemia are present.
  • Many a times it is raised in obesity and ageing individuals too.
  • Female sex is associated with higher erythrocyte sedimentation rates than men.

ESR should not be used to screen asymptomatic persons for disease. If an increased ESR is encountered and no explanation is immediately apparent, one need not pursue an exhaustive search for occult disease. The test can be repeated after several months.