d. Normal Values.
Males: Zero to 15 mm per hour.
Females: Zero to20 mm per hour.
Children: Zero to10 mm per hour.
(1) The erythrocyte sedimentation rate is a nonspecific test that suggests
the possibility of a disease process and tissue damage in the body. It is not diagnostic
but is extremely useful in following the course of some diseases.
(2) The rate is usually increased in inflammatory infections, toxemia, cell or
tissue destruction, severe anemia, active tuberculosis, syphilis, acute coronary
thrombosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and malignant processes.
(3) Sickle cell anemia, polycythemia, hypofibrinogenemia, and certain drugs
usually decrease the rate.
Section III. HEMOGLOBIN
Hemoglobin is a conjugated protein composed of the basic protein globin linked
to 4 heme molecules. Ninety-eight percent of all the iron found in the blood is contained
in hemoglobin. Hemoglobin transports oxygen and carbon dioxide. This important
substance reacts with oxygen to form oxyhemoglobin. In the tissues, oxygen is
released and reduced hemoglobin is formed. Hemoglobin can react with acids, bases,
and oxidizing and reducing agents. It also can exist in a variety of forms. These
hemoglobin compounds and variants are discussed briefly in the following paragraphs.
For more detailed information, refer to the standard hematological texts.
COMPOUNDS OF HEMOGLOBIN
a. Oxyhemoglobin. Oxygen combines loosely with iron (ferrous state) in
hemoglobin. The loosely attached oxygen diffuses into the tissues for oxidative
processes. The hemoglobin then binds carbon dioxide and exists as reduced
b. Carboxyhemoglobin. Hemoglobin combines with carbon monoxide to form
carboxyhemoglobin. Carbon monoxide has an affinity 200 times greater for hemoglobin
than oxygen does. Hemoglobin in this combination is incapable of oxygen transport.