Preferred Sample Type


Suitable Specimen Types

  • EDTA Whole Blood
3 ml

Specimen Transport

Standard transport to laboratory

Sample Preparation


Turnaround Time

6 hours

Sample Stability

4°C for 48 hours


General Information

ESR should be used for suspected cases of Temporal or Giant Cell arteritis. CRP is the test of choice for screening for inflammatory-based increase in acute phase proteins.



The ESR is influenced by age, sex, menstrual cycle and drugs (e.g. corticosteroids and the contraceptive pill). It is especially low (0-1mm) in polycythaemia, hypofibrinogenaemia and congestive cardiac failure. Artificially low results can be seen in patients with red cell abnormalities such as  spherocytosis, poikilocytosis or sickle cell disease due to the inability of red cells to form rouleaux. Caution should be given to elevated results in patients with anaemia.

The procedures used to determine the ESR cannot be calibrated as they are susceptible to a variety of errors (temperature, hematocrit, erythrocyte mean corpuscular volume, plasma viscosity, etc.). 

This test requires 1ml of whole blood. Please ensure samples are adequately filled. Paediatric tubes cannot be processed.





Reference Range

Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (StarrSed)

Adult Reference Range click here



  • EQA Scheme?: Yes
  • EQA Status: NEQAS

The laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital form part of the services provided by University Hospitals Birmingham and are UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accredited to the ISO 15189:2012 standard. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the UKAS website using the following link:

  • Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospital pathology laboratories are a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8217
  • United Kingdom Health Security Agency laboratory is a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8213

Tests not appearing on the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation currently remain outside of our scope of accreditation. However, these tests have been validated to the same high standard as accredited tests and are performed by the same trained and competent staff.

For further test information, please visit the test database:

Protection of personal information - Laboratory Medicine comply with the Trust Data Protection policy and have procedures in place to allow the Directorate and its employees to comply with the Data Protection act  1998 and associated best practice and guidance.

For further information contact Louise Fallon, Quality Manager, 0121 424 1235