Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

anyone know about this test?

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 2 Replies
  • Posted By: wants2know
  • January 4, 2008
  • 09:06 AM

Hi, I want to know if anybody has had this test be high before. My girlfriend went to the doctor at our college clinic to get checked out because she feels like she has pain in all her muscles, especially for the last few weeks, and she always has trouble eating and feels like throwing up. The doctor did some blood tests and a pelvic exam and he didn't find anything that day (she said) but later when I asked she mentioned to me that a test was off but it doesn't mean anything. She said her 'ESR' was high, and I looked it up but couldn't figure out why anyone's erythrocytes were sedimenting more. Does anyone know about this? Could it be an STD? Maybe pancreatitis? Help!

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  • The erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), also called a sedimentation rate, sed rate or 'Biernacki Reaction', is a non-specific measure of inflammation that is commonly used as a medical screening test.To perform the test, anticoagulated blood is placed in an upright tube, known as a Westergren tube and the rate at which the red blood cells fall is measured and reported in mm/h.When an inflammatory process is present, the high proportion of fibrinogen in the blood causes red blood cells to stick to each other. The red cells form stacks called 'rouleaux' which settle faster. Rouleaux formation can also occur in association with some lymphoproliferative disorders in which one or more immunoglobulins are secreted in high amounts. Rouleaux formation is however a physiological finding in some equidae and can be as such in felidae and suidae species, namely the horse, cat and pig respectively.The ESR is increased by any cause or focus of inflammation. The ESR is decreased in sickle cell anemia, polycythemia, and congestive heart failure. The basal ESR is slightly higher in females.Although it is frequently ordered, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is not a useful screening test. It is only useful for diagnosing three diseases: myeloma, temporal arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica (in which it may exceed 100 mm/hour).It is commonly used for a differential diagnosis for Kawasaki's Disease and it may be increased in some chronic infective conditions like tuberculosis and infective endocarditis. It is a component of the PDCAI, an index for assessment of severity of inflammatory bowel disease in children.The clinical usefulness of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is limited to monitoring the response to therapy in certain inflammatory diseases such as temporal arteritis, polymyalgia rheumatica and rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be used as a crude measure of response in Hodgkin's lymphoma. Additionally, ESR levels are used to define one of the several possible "adverse prognostic factors" in the staging of Hodgkin's lymphoma.The use of the ESR as a screening test in asymptomatic persons is limited by its low sensitivity and specificity. When there is a moderate suspicion of disease, the ESR may have some value as a "sickness index."An elevated ESR in the absence of other findings should NOT trigger an extensive laboratory or radiographic evaluation.
    rad-skw 1,605 Replies
    • January 4, 2008
    • 11:18 AM
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  • Hello sir. I find that an elevated ESR in young women of child bearing age is often indicative if not diagnostic of pancreatitis. I cannot stress to you the absolute necessity of seeking medical evaluation for your girlfriends pancreas. You should also have your ESR measured. This is probably the single most useful test in the medical arsenal. I hope that I have not alarmed you, I am recommending a judicious approach to the symptoms that you have documented. Take care. Please let us know how things turn out.
    fewd4thought 126 Replies
    • January 4, 2008
    • 09:36 PM
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