Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR, Sed Rate, Sedimentation Rate) is a laboratory blood test that indirectly measures the degree of inflammation in the body. It measures the rate of settling or sedimentation of red blood cells (erythrocytes) in a tall, thin tube of blood collected from a patient.
Proteins produced during inflammation cause erythrocytes to move close together and stack up in a group. When red blood cells are in group, they become heavier (denser) so they settle faster. The further erythrocytes settle and the faster they fall, the higher is the value of ESR. ESR blood test result is reported as how many millimeters of plasma (clear, yellowish fluid component of the blood) are present at the top of the thin tube in one hour.
Uses of Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
ESR blood test helps in the diagnosis of conditions associated with acute and chronic inflammation such as infections, cancers, and autoimmune diseases. Although ESR blood test can tell that there is inflammation in the body, it cannot tell what condition or disease is causing the inflammation. Doctors use ESR blood test result in conjunction with other clinical findings, laboratory test results, and the patient’s health history in diagnosing the disease of a patient.
There are many conditions that may cause inflammation and increase ESR: rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, anemia, endocarditis, kidney diseases, osteomyelitis, tuberculosis, syphilis, thyroid disease, rheumatic fever, systemic body infection, giant cell arteritis, pregnancy, multiple myeloma, polymyalgia, vasculitis, and other inflammatory diseases.
There are also conditions that result in lower-than-normal ESR: sickle cell anemia, polycythemia, blood hyperviscosity, low plasma protein due to certain diseases, decreased blood fibrinogen levels (hypofibrinogenemia), and congestive health failure.
Normal Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
There are two laboratory methods in measuring erythrocyte sedimentation rate: the Westergren and Wintrobe method. The Westergren method is used in most laboratories worldwide. Below are the normal ESR results using Westergren method (in millimeters per hour (mm/hr) :
-Less than 15 mm/hr for men under 50 yrs old
-Less than 20 mm/hr for women under 50 years old
-Less than 20 mm/hr for men over 50 yrs old
-Less than 30 mm/hr for women over 50 years old
- 0-2 mm/hr for newborns
- 3-12 mm/hr for children in neonatal and puberty stage
christine khan says
hello, i had the esr test done last week . and it said 50 mm/hr im a female 43 yrs , and had open heart surgery january 2009. I want to know what it means exactly.
R.F. Camat says
I wish I could answer your question, but I cannot give medical advice. Please talk to your doctor. I hope it is not something to worry about. I wish you good health. Thank you for visiting my site.
Richard Newmark says
I am a 84yr. old male. Have Chronic Venous Insufficiencency being treated.
My ESR is 44mm/hr.
Would this be a cause of a elevated ESR?
Please talk to your doctor. Thanks.
purushottam poddar says
I am 62 yr, i have done a ESR report 2 days back and it was 69. Doctor told me i am suffering from TB, i just want 2 know how did the doctor conclude it , there are many diseases ment in the report. i do not cough as much as a TB patient do.
hi. i had a sed rate done this past friday and my level was 80. i am a 45 year old female and just had a physical where everything was good except the numbness in my toes and pain in my feet. could you give me a couple of ideas of what these numbers could indicate? thanks lesee aurora, colorado
Hi. I’m a 36 yr old lady which had a couple of blood tests the past few weeks. My esr went from 31 to 36 in a space of one week. WBC and neuts were high as well. Plus it says on my lab results monocytosis and esonophilia. What us your opinion on that?thanks.
R.F. Camat says
Pls. talk to your doctor about this. I cannot give medical advice online. Thank you.
Fahi Sheikh says
hi, i am 27 years old girl, i have got a high ESR since 7 years ago, the only symtom that I have is rashes on my leg which apears whenever I stand oin my feet for a long time. i have ANA Positive as well.
I ‘m realy afraid of SLE.thank you for your cooments
R.F. Camat says
There’s nothing to worry much on those rashes. Take note that being an ANA Positive doesn’t mean that you are going to have SLE. More tests are needed to diagnose SLE. Please talk to your doctor for more information. Thank you.
my daughter is 5 her esr came in yesterday at 81 and platelets of 4.33 which are both over the should be range can anyone offer me some advice ?
What does an ESR of 17 mm/hr for a male person of > 50ys signifies. just discovered under routine lab check all other value are within normal range
my Esr is 25 nd my age is 19 aym suffering from rheumatoid fever
my ESR is 40mm/hr.how can i level these.i want to get pregnent,so it’s affect me or not
R.F. Camat says
Please talk to your doctor about this. Thanks and good luck.
Benjamin Shit says
My ESR is 36 mm/1 hrs and my Lymphocytes 3.4 x10(9)/L while my Neutrophhils 3.2 x10(9)/L. What does this mean?
What does an “indeterminate” rate of 6mm mean?
Why does anemia cause an elevated SED rate?
ashutosh kumar says
sir, my wife is pregnant and her esr is120mm/h. what are the possibilities and prevention for this?
An elevated ESR is a normal physiological response of pregnancy and should not cause any concern.
Any lab results need to be taken into account with other lab and clinical findings. So a single test outside of ‘normal refernce ranges’ should not cause too much concern, least of all a non-specific ancient test like an ESR.
I have an Sed Rate of 38MM. It has continued to steadily climb for the past 3 years. I started out as extremely anemic but, now have that under control…yet, the rate continues to climb. I have been under a doctor’s care and she seems to be out of ideas.
The biggest problem is my pain. I have horrible pain that generates from my bones. (A bone scan revealed nothing.) Recently, the pain was more than usual and I had the SR test done again and my Rate was higher than ever. Please help me to find something to look for that can connect the two: pain and the SR. I hurt so badly on days like that one that I just felt miserable. Please note if you have ever heard of such.
To All who sought answers to lab result as I Have:
Pleas go to Wikipedia for information about ESR, along with Google to research this Lab Result. It basically measures your red blood cell sedimentation rate, which is used to measure and detect the presence of inflammation in the body. The causes of that inflammation are described for various types of causes and usually part of a series of blood tests ordered by Physicians. Take all the information and do a Google and Wikipedia search for the results. In most cases, especially at Kaiser Permanente, short explanations about the use and indicator is given. Further research on your part will give you a better understanding of the ‘Range of results”. A conversation with your Medical Practitioner will give you more insight and is an effective way of getting professional advice. None of us, including myself, cannot advise you legally or medically because we are not Physicians, and, because they have the training we don’t to put all the results into a Correct perspective for your understanding. I’ve gotten more pre-appointment information this way and it helps me to focus on the question-answer session, with my Doctor, to understand the importance of his advise. With all good wishes and hopes for your better health..pjb
Can i know from ESR test HIV infected or not . I tested ESR now normal
MY ESR IS 42 WHATS DE MEANING OF THAT WHAT IS MY DEASIES
gorgeous grey says
y in polycythemia….esr is decreased despite the rise in no. of RBCs….???
my esr is 40 what does it mean. i got kneepain swelling,
Nisha Awasthi says
My age 32yrs ESR test done 24mm/hour (Western green)
Plz tell me TB Yes/NO
C/o Lower Back pain last two month
my esr is 8mm/hr.polycemic condition.hmmmmmmm
dipesh vithal says
My husband esr is 85 age 38
my daughter age 1 yr. her ESR 45mm/hr, what is that mean, any prb
Please talk to your doctor about the result of the test. I hope you daughter is ok. God bless 🙂
hii my daughter is 5 years old…15 days back she had typoid where ger ESR rate was 102 bt now it has come down to 37 after 15 days.. her Zosef and Zanocin medicine is still on .///can u pls suggets me if 37 is normal as ESR rate or still precation needs to be taken fr relapse of Typoid..????
ESR can help in the diagnosis of condition associated with acute Chronic. but How can we know it is in chronic or acute phase ?