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)

5 mL glass ESR tube


  • The sample must be received in the laboratory within 6 hours of venepuncture.
  • Please ensure the sample is full; short samples may be unsuitable for processing. The minimum fill for an ESR tube is 1.5cm from the base of the black cap.
  • As the ESR tube is glass, please do not send these samples via the air tube system.

Neonates and Paediatrics

In these patients, ESRs can be performed on EDTA (lilac top) samples if a ESR tube cannot be filled. At least 1ml blood is required for this method.

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