erythrocyte sedimentation rate

erythrocyte sedimentation rate
(ESR) the rate at which erythrocytes precipitate out from a well-mixed specimen of venous blood, measured by the distance the top of the column of erythrocytes falls in a given time interval under specified conditions; an increase in rate is usually due to elevated levels of plasma proteins, especially fibrinogen and immunoglobulins, which decrease the zeta potential on erythrocytes by dielectric shielding and thus promote rouleau formation. It is increased in monoclonal gammopathy, hypergammaglobulinemia due to inflammatory disease, hyperfibrinogenemia, active inflammatory disease, and anemia. The traditional methods of calculating ESR are the Westergren method and the Wintrobe method. See also zeta sedimentation ratio under ratio.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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