Other Clinical Tests

Other tests allow your physicians to monitor changes in lupus activity and the effectiveness of your medications.

  • Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) The erythrocyte (or, red blood cell) sedimentation rate (ESR) is a test that measures the amount of inflammation in your body.
  • C-reactive Protein (CRP) / Westergren Sedimentation Rate Like the erythrocyte sedimentation rate, the C-reactive protein (CRP) test measures inflammation. However, CRP usually changes more rapidly than ESR because it is made by the liver and secreted hours after the beginning of infection or inflammation.
  • Creatine Phosphokinase (CPK) Creatine phosphokinase (a.k.a., creatine kinase, CPK, or CK) is an enzyme (a protein that helps to elicit chemical changes in your body) found in your heart, brain, and skeletal muscles. When muscle tissue is damaged, CPK leaks into your blood. Therefore, high levels of CPK usually indicate some sort of stress or injury to your heart or other muscles.
  • Coombs’ Test The Coombs’ test is used to detect antibodies that act against the surface of your red blood cells. The presence of these antibodies indicates a condition known as hemolytic anemia, in which your blood does not contain enough red blood cells because they are destroyed prematurely. An acquired form, autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), is present in about 10% of people with lupus and results from an immune system attack on your red blood cells.