What is the role of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in the diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?

Updated: Oct 17, 2017
  • Author: William A Rowe, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

The erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) level are often used as serologic markers for inflammation, but they are not specific for IBD. However, measuring such inflammatory markers also aids in monitoring disease activity and response to treatment. A small but significant number of patients with Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis may not have elevated ESR or CRP levels even in the setting of significant active inflammation. In addition, inflammatory markers may be elevated in the setting of superimposed intestinal or extraintestinal infections.


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