Background: A very high erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is usually an indication of underlying pathology. Additionally, a moderately elevated ESR may also be attributable to biological ageing. Whether the ESR is a prognostic factor for mortality, regardless of age, has been scarcely investigated. Therefore, the objective was to analyse the association between elevated ESR levels and the risk of mortality in a prospective cohort of the general population.
Methods: We studied data from the Rotterdam Study (1990-2014). ESR levels were measured at baseline and individuals were followed until death or end of study. Associations between moderately (20-50 mm h-1 ) and markedly (>50 mm h-1 ) elevated ESR levels and all-cause mortality were assessed using multivariate Cox proportional hazard models.
Results: In total, 5226 participants were included, and the mean age was 70.3 years. During a median follow-up time of 14.9 years, 3749 participants died (71.7%). After adjustment, both a moderately elevated ESR and a markedly elevated ESR were associated with a significantly higher risk of overall mortality [hazard ratio (HR) 1.23, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.12-1.35 and HR 1.89, 95% CI 1.38-2.60, respectively]. Although the ESR becomes higher with age, in a group aged above 75 years, without any comorbidities, an ESR > 20 mm h-1 remained associated with a significantly increased risk of mortality (HR 1.29, 95%CI 1.01-1.64).
Conclusion: An elevated ESR is an independent prognostic factor for mortality. Despite the fact that ESR increases with age, it remains associated with an increased risk of mortality and warrants close follow-up.
Keywords: ageing; erythrocyte sedimentation rate; general population; low-grade inflammation; mortality.
|Title||Erythrocyte sedimentation rate as an independent prognostic marker for mortality: a prospective population-based cohort study|
|Date||1 March 2019|
|Issue name||Journal of internal medicine|
|Issue number||2019 Mar;285(3):341-348. doi: 10.1111/joim.12853. Epub 2018 Dec 9. PMID: 30537394.|