Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate ESR
Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
a diagnostic indicator that discloses changes in the relationship of the plasma’s proteins and of the number and size of erythrocytes in different pathological states. The ESR’s mechanism consists of the adsorption of plasma protein particles by erythrocytes and the formation of agglomerates (masses of erythrocytes) that settle to the lower layers when the blood is left standing.
The normal ESR for males and females is 3–10 and 3–14 mm/hr, respectively. The ESR generally accelerates when there is an increase in such coarsely dispersed plasma proteins as gamma globulins and fibrinogen. This takes place in such inflammations as pneumonia, tuberculosis, rheumatism, and sepsis and in diseases accompanied by tissue degeneration, including myocardial infarction and tumors. The ESR is highest, reaching 90 mm/hr, in myeloma. An accelerated ESR may also occur during pregnancy and after vaccination. The ESR slows in erythremia, viral hepatitis, protein insufficiency, and cardiac insufficiency.