Updated: 11/17/2018

Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate

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Overview
  • The rate at which RBCs fall in a test tube forming a measurable clear supernatant
  • ↑ ESR caused by
    • infections
    • inflammation
      • inflammation results in increased acute phase reactants (e.g. fibrinogen) which results in RBC agglutination
      • agglutination causes RBCs to fall at a faster rate within the test tube 
      • e.g. temporal arteritis and SLE
    • cancer
    • pregnancy
      • greater plasma volume results in easier formation of a clear supernatant due to decrease in density of plasma relative to density of a single RBC
      • increase in acute phase proteins (e.g. fibrinogen) promotes RBC aggregation
  • ↓ ESR caused by
    • sickle cell
      • changes in RBC morphology result in altered sedimentation
    • polycythemia 
      • more RBCs take longer to create a supernatant
    • CHF
 

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