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Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) Blood Test

* This is not a home test kit. You will need to visit a local lab for testing.

Also Known As:

ESR, SED rate, Sedimentation Rate, Westergren sedimentation rate, WSR, and Zeta Rate

Purpose of the ESR Blood Test

An erythrocyte sedimentation rate or ESR blood test evaluates inflammation in the body caused by injuries, infections, certain autoimmune diseases, cancers, and other chronic diseases.

Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) rate (809)
Erythocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) rate (005215)

What Does the ESR Lab Test Measure?

The sedimentation rate test measures how fast the erythrocytes or red blood cells clump and settle at the bottom of the test tube within an hour. Under normal conditions, the red blood cells fall slower. But if there is an inflammatory activity, the ESR rate increases in the presence of proteins such as CRP.

Who Should Take an ESR Blood Test?

Your doctor might order the ESR lab test if you have symptoms of inflammation – mainly swollen, painful, and stiff joints. You may also observe some redness, fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite, especially if the inflammation is due to an infection.

Additionally, a SED rate test could be part of your routine wellness or heart health tests to assess your risk of a heart attack.

Sedimentation Rate Blood Test Preparation

No special preparation, like fasting, is required before blood collection. Still, it’s best to ask your doctor, especially if you’re under any anti-inflammatory medications. You may have to skip intake to get the most accurate results.

ESR Blood Test Results

When getting the test report for the erythrocyte sedimentation rate, your test results will be compared to the normal reference range. These values might differ based on the laboratory where you have the test done.

For example, in Quest Diagnostics, the normal reference values vary depending on your age and sex. In a nutshell, here is the interval range you can refer to:

  • 50 years old and below:
    • Male: 15 mm/hr or lower
    • Female: 20 mm/hr or lower
  • Over 50 years old
    • Male: 20 mm/hr or lower
    • Female: 30 mm/hr or lower

On the other hand, at Labcorp, the values are slightly different, as shown in the following interval references.

  • 50 years old and below:
    • Male: 15 mm/hr or lower
    • Female: 32 mm/hr or lower
  • Over 50 years old
    • Male: 30 mm/hr or lower
    • Female: 40 mm/hr or lower

If your test report indicates a higher value, it could be a sign of inflammation as the sedimentation rate increases in the presence of proteins linked to the condition. However, as ESR alone is not enough to confirm inflammatory activities, let alone their causes, it had to be paired with other diagnostic tools such as the c-reactive protein (CRP) blood test.

Where Can I Get an ESR Lab Test Done Near Me?

Order the ESR or SED rate blood test online. Simply follow these steps.

Step 1: Head to our website’s autoimmune disease tests or heart health blood tests sections. Order the CRP test quantitative and download the lab test order. This will serve as your doctor’s order for the lab work.

Step 2: Select a partner laboratory using our lab locator.

Step 3: Go to the lab of your choice to have your blood drawn.

Step 4: Expect the lab test results within 2-10 business days in your Personalabs account.

For an exact turnaround time for results, please contact us at 1-888-438-5227. We will contact the lab of your choice (Quest Diagnostics or LabCorp) as turnaround times vary depending on testing location or lab testing provider.

Additional information


LabCorp, Quest

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