Dr. med. Dirk Manski

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Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) – Serum Blood Test

The erythrocytes have a slightly higher specific weight compared to the blood plasma, which leads to a sedimentation of the erythrocytes in a non-moving blood column. The alteration of the plasma by an inflammatory reaction leads to an increase in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

Standard value:

1–20 mm/h (women), 1–13 mm/h (men); for the elderly the upper normal value applies.

Laboratory test method:

1.6 ml of whole blood are mixed with 0.4 ml of 3.8% sodium citrate and mounted in a vertical 200 mm long plastic tube. After one hour, the cell-free supernatant is measured (in mm).


Diagnosis and treatment monitoring of inflammatory diseases, after operations, tumor prognosis parameter (see CRP). Compared to the CRP, ESR measurement is cheaper. Disadvantageously is the slow reaction of the ESR to changes of the disease intensity.

Differential Diagnosis of Elevated ESR

Differential Diagnosis of Low ESR


Index: 1–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Guder, W. G. & Nolte, J. Das Laborbuch für Klinik und Praxis
Urban + Fischer, 2009

Siegenthaler 1988 SIEGENTHALER, W. ; SIEGENTHALER, W. (Hrsg.): Differentialdiagnose innerer Krankheiten.
Georg Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart, New York., 1988

  Deutsche Version: BSG: Blutsenkungsgeschwindigkeit