Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate

The Erythrocyte Sedimenataion Rate is used as a screening test for signs of non-specific inflammation. The sedimentation rate of Red Blood Cells in anticoagulated whole blood over a given time is measured to calculate the ESR.
A faster-than-normal rate may indicate inflammation in the body.

This test is correlated to the 1 hour Westergren method.
Reference range: 

                             Males                       Females

<17 years                ≤10                         ≤12

17–50 years             ≤10                         ≤12

51–60 years             ≤12                         ≤19

61–70 years             ≤14                         ≤20

>70 years                ≤30                         ≤35

Synonyms or keywords: 
ESR, Sedimentation Rate
Sample type and Volume required: 
Whole Blood collected in EDTA bottle. (Purple Top)
1.5mL (including for paediatric samples);
Turnaround time: 
Routine: 1 day; Urgent: Contact the Laboratory.
Special sample instructions: 

Interfering factors:

  • Gross Lipaemia;
  • Gross Jaundice;
  • Haemolysis;
  • Insufficient volume;
  • Aged sample;
  • Clotted sample;
  • Cold Agglutinins;

Please note that the laboratory may be unable to provide results whenever any of these factors interfere with the technical validity of the results; Report will be issued with an appropriate comment.

Storage and transport: 
Keep at room temperature; Do not expose to extreme temperatures; Sample stability: samples must arrive to the laboratory and be processed within 24h post collection.
Blood Sciences Department-Guy's And St Thomas' Hospital
St Thomas' Hospital
North Wing - 5th Floor
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7EH
Contact: 020 7188 9247

Guy's Hospital
Southwark Wing - 4th Floor
Great Maze Pond
London SE1 9RT
Contact: 020 7188 4781
Haematology Laboratory at Guy's and St Thomas' Clinical Advisory Service
Routine hours: bleep 1358
Paediatrics Routine hours: bleep 1621

Out of hours, weekend and bank holidays: 17:00-9:00 bleep 0294
For clinical advice or interpretation of results, please contact the laboratory in the first instance.

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Last updated: 13/08/2021