Clinical utility of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate test and haemoglobin electrophoretic patterns among premarital couples in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Background: The erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is a relatively non-specific test that is often ignored during the diagnosis and monitoring of disease. However, in recent times, the test is often requested alongside haemoglobin electrophoretic pattern as pre marital test. This study was aimed at determining the ESR values among these apparently healthy populations, correlate this parameter with Hb electrophoretic pattern and evaluate its usefulness in modern medicine.
Materials and Methods: Standard haemoglobin electrophoresis run with
cellulose acetate paper at pH 8.9 and Westergren method for ESR were used in the determinations.
Results: The mean ESR value for the males was 12.48±10.0mm/hr while 20.77 ± 18.8 was obtained for the females. There was significant difference between the male and female values (t = 3.94; p < 0.01). Mild elevation of ESR (20–50 mm/hr) occurred in 6.67% of males, 11.1% of the females and 8.85% in the study population A moderately elevated value (ESR 51–99mm/hr) was observed in 2.2% males, 5.56% females and 3.38% in the study population. No extreme elevation (ESR >100mm/hr) was observed in the study population. ESR was found to correlate negatively with gender (r = -0.248; p <0.01). Amongst the premarital couples, 83.3% had HbAA while 16.7% had HbAS. No relationship was found to exist between ESR and haemoglobin electrophoretic patterns.
Conclusion: There are no sufficient scientific reasons to support the inclusion of ESR as a premarital test so, this practice should be discouraged.
Keywords: Erythrocyte sedimentation rate, haemoglobin electrophoretic
pattern, premarital couples