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Blood test showed high ESR count. What could be the cause?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
My 5month old son has high ESR count in the blood test. He had cold and fever last week and ESR count was 100 that time and when fever got over it has come down to 86. He is very healthy like a normal kid. I would like to know why this ESR rate. Any other tests has to be done? Please advise to me.My email Id is YYYY@YYYY
Posted Tue, 13 Nov 2012 in X-ray, Lab tests and Scans
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 1 hour later
Thanks for posting your query.
A very high ESR like in your child's case could be most probably due to a systemic infection or inflammation as suggested by his symptoms of Cold and fever.

ESR stands for erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
It is a test that indirectly measures how much inflammation is in the body.
This test can be used to monitor inflammatory diseases or cancer. It is a screening test, which means it cannot be used to diagnose a specific disorder.
However, it is useful for detecting and monitoring:
Autoimmune disorders
Certain forms of arthritis
Inflammatory diseases that cause vague symptoms.
An increased ESR rate may be due to:
Cancers such as lymphoma or multiple myeloma
Kidney disease

Normal ranges for children are
Newborn: 0 to 2 mm/hr
Newborn to puberty: 3 to 13 mm/hr

In your son , the high ESR was most probably due to the infection and inflammation which causes release of immunoglobulin in blood and causes early sedimentation of the red blood cells giving a high ESR . This is commonly seen in infections and the fact that his ESR was decreasing is a good indication that the infection has responded well to the treatment.
However I would advise you get few other tests like complete blood count , crp etc done which ideally should have been done ( I assume they might have done CBC or crp along with the first ESR ).
If the CBC is normal then there is nothing to worry and the infection can be considered to be treated.
Another alternative is to get a repeat ESR after a couple of months to watch for resolution and if it is still high then it's best to get it further evaluated by a hematologist .
As of now I do not think you need to worry if your child is asymptomatic and having a decreasing trend of ESR .
Hope I have answered your query.
I'll be available for any follow up queries.
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