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Arthritis and Rheumatism

Does a ESR Result of 19 Indicate Rheumatic Fever?

11/07/2007

Question:

Hi, I am a 21 year old male . I used to go to the gym and practice body building then I had severe wrist pain so I stopped and had some upper back pain so I visited a physcian and he requested CBC and ESR blood test. My ESR result is 19. Does that mean I have rheumatic fever? And what may be the cause of the pain?

Answer:

With the information provided, I would not be suspicious of Rheumatic Fever. Rheumatic Fever is a potential complication of an untreated "strep throat" with manifestations that include fever, rash, heart inflammation, heart valve pathology, and neurologic disease.

An erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is a nonspecific, indirect laboratory that may be elevated under certain inflammatory responses. Your ESR of 19 is not very high and in many situations would be considered normal or unremarkable.

As far as what is causing wrist and back pain, perhaps muscle and tendon sprain/strain related to overuse or repetitive motion. Of course, an examination with your physician would help clarify this.

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Response by:

Raymond  Hong, MD, MBA, FACR Raymond Hong, MD, MBA, FACR
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University