July 19, 2024

Determination of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)

Determination of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)

There are two main methods used to measure the ESR:

  • Westergren method
  • Wintrobe Method

Each method produces slightly different results. Most laboratories use the Westergren method.

Westergren method

  • The Westergren method requires collecting 2 ml of venous blood into a tube containing 0 .5 ml of sodium
    citrate. It should be stored no longer than 2 hours at room temperature or 6 hours at 4 °C.
  • The blood is drawn into a Westergren-Katz tube to the 200 mm mark. The tube is placed in a rack in a strictly vertical position for 1 hour at room temperature, at which time the distance from the lowest point of the surface meniscus to the upper limit of the red cell sediment is measured.
  • The distance of fall of erythrocytes expressed as millimeters in 1 hour, is the ESR.

Wintrobe method

However, this method is more practical for demonstration purposes.


Average values in healthy men are: <15mm/hr; in healthy females, they are somewhat higher: <20mm. The values are slightly higher in old age, in both genders.

Theoretical considerations

The RBCs sediment because their density is greater than that of plasma; this is particularly so, when there is an alteration in the distribution of charges on the surface of the RBC (which normally keeps them separate from each other) resulting in their coming together to form large aggregates known as rouleaux.

Rouleaux formation is determined largely by increased levels of plasma fibrinogen and globulins, and so the ESR reflects mainly changes in the plasma proteins that accompany acute and chronic infections, some tumors, and degenerative diseases. In such situations, the ESR values are much greater than 20mm/hr.

Note that the ESR denotes merely the presence of tissue damage or disease, but not its severity; it may be used to follow the progress of the diseased state, or monitor the effectiveness of treatment

Some interferences which increase ESR

  • increased the level of fibrinogen, and gamma globulins.
  • technical factors: tilted ESR tube, high room temperature.

Some interferences decrease ESR

  • abnormally shaped RBC (sickle cells, spherocytosis).
  • technical factors: short ESR tubes, low room temperature, delay in test performance (>2 hours), clotted blood sample, excess anticoagulant, and bubbles in the tube.

Human Anatomy and Physiology Practical Syllabus

  1. Study of a compound microscope.
  2. Microscopic study of epithelial and connective tissue
  3. Microscopic study of muscular and nervous tissue
  4. Identification of axial bones
  5. Identification of appendicular bones
  6. Introduction to hemocytometry.
  7. Enumeration of white blood cell (WBC) count
  8. Enumeration of total red blood corpuscles (RBC) count
  9. Determination of the bleeding time
  10. Determination of clotting time
  11. Estimation of haemoglobin content
  12. Determination of blood group.
  13. Determination of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).
  14. Determination of heart rate and pulse rate.
  15. Recording of blood pressure.

First Year B Pharm Notes, Syllabus, Books, PDF Subjectwise/Topicwise

F Y B Pharm Sem-IS Y B Pharm Sem-II
BP101T Human Anatomy and Physiology I TheoryBP201T Human Anatomy and Physiology II – Theory
BP102T Pharmaceutical Analysis I TheoryBP202T Pharmaceutical Organic Chemistry I Theory
BP103T Pharmaceutics I TheoryBP203T Biochemistry – Theory
BP104T Pharmaceutical Inorganic Chemistry TheoryBP204T Pathophysiology – Theory
BP105T Communication skills TheoryBP205T Computer Applications in Pharmacy Theory
BP106RBT Remedial BiologyBP206T Environmental sciences – Theory
BP106RMT Remedial Mathematics TheoryBP207P Human Anatomy and Physiology II Practical
BP107P Human Anatomy and Physiology PracticalBP208P Pharmaceutical Organic Chemistry I Practical
BP108P Pharmaceutical Analysis I PracticalBP209P Biochemistry Practical
BP109P Pharmaceutics I PracticalBP210P Computer Applications in Pharmacy Practical
BP110P Pharmaceutical Inorganic Chemistry Practical
BP111P Communication skills Practical
BP112RBP Remedial Biology Practical

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