Keywords: Epidural abscess, back pain, vertebral osteomyelitis (PubMed Search)
Both erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) are highly sensitive (84-100%) for spinal infections and are observed in >80% with vertebral osteomyelitis and epidural abscesses.
Most sensitive and specific serum marker, usually elevated in both spinal epidural abscess (SEA) and vertebral osteomyelitis.
ESR was elevated in 94-100% of patients with SEA vs. only 33% of non-SEA patients
Mean ESR in patients with SEA was significantly elevated (51-77mm/hour)
Not highly specific
Less useful for acute diagnosis since CRP levels rise faster and return to baseline faster than ESR (elevated CRP seen in 87% of patients with SEA as well as in 50% of patients with spine pain not due to a SEA)
Better used as a marker of response to treatment.
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