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The Erythrocyte Sedimation Rate (ESR) is a test that relates to the ability of red cells to form rouleaux, which is in turn related to levels of acute phase proteins, fibrinogen and immunoglobulin.

The test for ESR measures the distance that red cells have fallen after one hour in a vertical column of anticoagulated blood under the influence of gravity.

ESR is a useful indication of the presence and intensity of an inflammatory process. It is not diagnostic of a particular disease. It rises with age and in anaemia.

Calculation of predicted value:

  • men - ESR given by age in years divided by 2
  • women - ESR given by age in (years+10) divided by 2


  • Miller, A, BMJ (1983) i 266

Last reviewed 01/2018