unreliable lab tests

Last reviewed 01/2018

Laboratory test results are often unreliable:

  • white cell counts and ESR may not be greatly elevated despite significant sepsis
  • conversely, markedly raised ESR may occur in apparently healthy elderly patients
  • C-reactive protein is a much more sensitive inflammatory marker (1)


  • N Lawrence et al, HB Emergencies in Gen Pract 2e, 1997