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How does a lab technician do a sedimentation rate test?

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A lab technician will place your red blood cells into a tall, thin tube and check how far they fall in 1 hour. When you have inflammation in your body, abnormal proteins in your blood make red blood cells form into clumps. These clumps are heavy, so they fall to the bottom of the tube more quickly than single blood cells.

The faster the blood cells sink, the more inflammation you have in your body.

SOURCES:

American Association for Clinical Chemistry: "ESR."

Mayo Clinic: "Sed rate (erythrocyte sedimentation rate): How you prepare," "Overview," "Results," "Why it's done."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "What to Expect With Blood Tests."

Nemours Foundation: "Blood Test: Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)."

University of Rochester Medical Center: "Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on February 19, 2019

SOURCES:

American Association for Clinical Chemistry: "ESR."

Mayo Clinic: "Sed rate (erythrocyte sedimentation rate): How you prepare," "Overview," "Results," "Why it's done."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "What to Expect With Blood Tests."

Nemours Foundation: "Blood Test: Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)."

University of Rochester Medical Center: "Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on February 19, 2019

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What is a normal sedimentation rate?

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