Sedimentation Rate (cont.)
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Sedimentation Rate Test
A sedimentation rate is performed by measuring how long it takes red blood cells (RBCs) to settle in a test tube. The RBCs become sediment in the bottom of the test tube over time, leaving the blood serum visible above. The classic sedimentation rate test is typically performed in a calibrated narrow tube. The sedimentation rate is measured simply by recording how far the top of the RBC layer has fallen (in millimeters) from the top of the serum layer in one hour. The sedimentation rate increases when more inflammation is present in the body of the person whose blood was sampled because inflammation alters certain substances on the surfaces of the red blood cells, making them tend to adhere together and more rapidly fall to the bottom of the test tube.
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