Does a normal erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) rule out temporal arteritis so that no further testing is needed?
— Kashif A. Memon, MD, Vernal, Utah
ESRs can be slow to rise, and in 5%-10% of patients with polymyalgia-temporal arteritis, a second normal value may be needed to exclude these inflammatory illnesses. The assay for C-reactive protein, which is faster, is preferred for initial diagnosis and flares that occur as steroid dosing is tapered.
—Jack Waxman, MD (113-7)