Department of Haematology


  • There are very few appropriate indications for the request of an ESR as the plasma viscosity (PV) is a much more reliable test in most circumstances. However, there remain a few instances where ESR measurement can provide clinically useful results. These include management of polymyalgia rheumatica and temporal arteritis, and monitoring of certain biological therapies (e.g. anti TNF).
  • In all other cases a plasma viscosity will be performed instead.
  • Test performed at CGH and GRH.

Sample requirements

ESR tube (Trisodium Citrate)


  • Sample must be received within laboratory within 6 hours of venepuncture.
  • Please ensure sample is full (within 0-5mm below fill line). Under filled or overfilled samples will be rejected.
  • Sarstedt ESR containers (in use from December 2023) require an adapter for use with the BD needles and holders. Adapters are provided with the specimen containers.

Neonates and Paediatrics

Plasma viscosities can be performed as a possible alternative to ESR for neonates and paediatrics, from an appropriate EDTA sample. Please contact Haematology for advice if required.

Test no longer being provided for small samples, with effect from 30/1/2023

Turnaround time

Please note, an ESR takes one hour to run. Please phone the laboratory if an urgent ESR is being sent.

  • Urgent: one hour from receipt
  • Routine: within 4 hours

Reference Ranges

Range Units
Male (0 - 50 years) 1 - 7 mm/hr
Male (50+ years) 2 - 10 mm/hr
Female (0 - 50 years) 3 - 9 mm/hr
Female (50+ years) 5 - 15 mm/hr