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Sedimentation Rate

What Is a Sedimentation Rate (Sed Rate)?

A sedimentation rate is a common blood test that is used to detect and monitor inflammation in the body. The sedimentation rate is also called the erythrocyte sedimentation rate because it is a measure of the speed that the red blood cells (erythrocytes) in a tube of blood fall to the bottom of the tube (form sediment). Sedimentation rate is often abbreviated as sed rate or ESR.

What Are the Reasons for Performing a Sedimentation Rate Test?

Doctors use the sedimentation rate to help to determine if inflammation is present in the patient. Additionally, the sedimentation rate can be a convenient method of monitoring the progress of treatment of diseases that are characterized by inflammation. Accordingly, a high or elevated sedimentation rate would correlate with more disease activity while a low sedimentation rate would suggest that the disease is less active.

Examples of diseases that are commonly monitored with the sedimentation rate test include

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/23/2016

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