Key features and components of an ESR analyzer include:
- Sample Handling System: The ESR analyzer is equipped with a sample handling system that allows blood samples to be collected from patients and appropriately prepared for the test. The blood is usually drawn from a vein and mixed with an anticoagulant to prevent clotting.
- ESR Tube Rack: The analyzer has a vertical tube rack that holds multiple ESR tubes, also known as Westergren tubes. These are narrow, long tubes marked with a scale to measure the sedimentation rate of red blood cells.
- Automated Pipetting System: The analyzer is designed to automatically pipette the anticoagulated blood samples into the ESR tubes. This automation ensures consistency and accuracy in the testing process.
- Incubation and Reading Chamber: The ESR tubes are placed in a chamber where the blood samples are allowed to settle undisturbed for a specific time, usually one hour. This incubation period allows the red blood cells to sediment.
- Optical Detection System: The analyzer incorporates an optical detection system that measures the distance the red blood cells have settled within the ESR tubes after the incubation period. This distance is then used to calculate the ESR value.
- Display and Results: The ESR analyzer features a digital display that shows the ESR value in millimeters per hour (mm/h). The results are typically printed or stored for further analysis and record-keeping.
ESR testing is commonly used in the diagnosis and monitoring of conditions such as infections, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, and other inflammatory disorders. Higher ESR values indicate increased inflammation, while lower values are typically associated with normal or reduced inflammatory activity.