Don’t order an erythrocyte sedimentation rate to look for inflammation in patients with undiagnosed conditions. Order a C-reactive protein to detect acute phase inflammation.
|Rationale and Comments:||C-reactive protein is a more sensitive and specific reflection of the acute phase of inflammation than is the erythrocyte sedimentation rate. In the first 24 hours of a disease process, the C-reactive protein will be elevated, whereas the erythrocyte sedimentation rate may be normal. If the source of inflammation is removed, the C-reactive protein will return to normal within a day or so, whereas the erythrocyte sedimentation rate will remain elevated for several days until excess fibrinogen is removed from the serum.|
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