Table 2

 Community and primary care studies investigating the diagnostic role of inflammatory markers as diagnostic or screening tools for non-specific disease

Setting (test)Study typeParticipantsOutcome
Israeli airmen (ESR)Prospective study, 15 year follow-up271000 healthy men aged 18-33 years: yearly ESR measurement44 had persistently raised ESR; of these, 10 subsequently developed disease (4 myocardial infarctions, 3 ankylosing spondylitis, and one each of inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, benign monoclonal gammopathy)
Community study of ageing in the US (ESR)Prospective study, 12 month follow-up28100 healthy men and women aged over 70 years9 subjects had an ESR >30 mm/h for ≥6 months; a previously undiagnosed illness was identified in 4 of these (2 polymyalgia, 1 pancytopaenia, 1 anaemia)
Primary care in the Netherlands (ESR)Prospective study, 3 month follow-up29362 patients presenting with a new complaint for which the general practitioner considered ESR to be indicatedESR values were on average higher in those with malignancy or inflammatory diseases. Almost all diagnoses
“revealed” by the raised ESR had been suspected at the initial consultation before the ESR result was known

ESR=erythrocyte sedimentation rate.