Blood Test for Temporal Arteritis
A common blood test for temporal arteritis is called an erythrocyte sedimentation rate. However, an abnormal result from this test only indicates that inflammation is present in the body. Because inflammation is also a common symptom of many other disorders, a doctor cannot rely on this blood test alone, and will often recommend other tests, such as a temporal artery biopsy.
No single blood test will definitively diagnose temporal arteritis. To make a temporal arteritis diagnosis, a physician considers the patient's medical history (including symptoms that the patient reports), results of the physical exam, blood tests that rule out other possible diagnoses, and results of other procedures, including a temporal artery biopsy.
While there is no diagnostic blood test for temporal arteritis, there are a number of blood tests that can show evidence of inflammation. The doctor may recommend some of these tests. One common blood test for temporal arteritis includes an erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
Blood Test for Temporal Arteritis: Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate
The most typical laboratory finding in people with temporal arteritis is an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, commonly referred to as the sed rate. This blood test measures how quickly red blood cells fall to the bottom of a test tube of unclotted blood. Rapidly descending cells (an elevated sed rate) indicate inflammation in the body. While the sed rate measurement is a helpful diagnostic tool, it alone does not diagnose temporal arteritis. An abnormal result indicates only that tissue is inflamed, which also is a symptom of many forms of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.