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Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate and C-Reactive Protein Testing in Combination Versus Individually

Last updated: November 3, 2015
Issue: 140
Result type: Report

Patients who have suspected inflammatory disease or serious infection may undergo a diagnostic workup that involves multiple laboratory tests. Two such laboratory tests are erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP), non-specific blood tests often ordered together that are well established and widely used to aid the diagnosis of numerous conditions. The simultaneous and widespread use of both tests has raised concerns about their potential overuse, particularly if they provide little valuable information regarding patient management and outcomes.

The aim of this report is to address the issue of when, if ever, it is appropriate to concurrently test ESR and CRP (as opposed to testing only ESR or CRP) to help diagnose inflammatory disease or serious infection.