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Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)

Measurement of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is used in the non-specific evaluation of the activity of infections, inflammatory conditions, autoimmune disorders and blood cell malformations.

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Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is a non-specific test for inflammatory and necrotic conditions. ESR can also increase in normal conditions, such as pregnancy. In these cases, there is a change in the blood proteins that lead to red blood cell aggregation and increased ESR.

ESR measures the rate at which erythrocytes in a special tube mixed with a specific anticoagulant settle. The erythrocytes which have accumulated due to inflammatory and necrotic conditions, settle faster than the individual red blood cells. Thus ESR, which is expressed in mm / h, will be increased in such inflammatory and necrotic conditions. There is a direct relationship between ESR and the course of these diseases. As the disease improves, ESR decreases.

Measurement of ESR is of limited diagnostic value in cases of severe anemia or in hematologic conditions that significantly affect the size and shape of red blood cells (eg presence of sickle cells or spherocytes).

Possible Interpretations of Pathological Values
  • Increase: Anemia, coccidiosis, Crohn's disease, haemolytic anemia, infection, inflammatory conditions, malignancies, myocardial infarction, osteomyelitis, painful conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis. Medications: Dextran, heparin, oral contraceptives
  • Decrease: Congestive heart failure, factor V deficiency, hypoalbuminemia, varicocytosis, polycythemia, sickle cell anemia. Medication: Albumin, aspirin, corticotropin, cortisone, lecithin, steroids




Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".

Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.

At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.

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