Is Westergren a pipette or tube?

The Westergren is both a pipette and can refer to the tube or system used for erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) testing.


  • Westergren pipette: This is the original specialized glass pipette designed by Westergren in 1926 to standardize the manual ESR test. It delivers a precise 0.5 mL blood sample.
  • Westergren tube: Later, disposable plastic tubes replaced the glass pipette for convenience. These tubes hold 0.5 mL of blood and are read similarly.
  • Westergren system/method: This term more broadly refers to the standardized technique and equipment used to perform and read the ESR test manually.

Key aspects of the Westergren system include:

  • Using a vertical Westergren pipette/tube of defined bore size
  • Incubating and reading the ESR at 1 hour
  • Measuring and reporting the sedimentation distance in mm

So in summary:

  • Westergren pipette refers specifically to the original glass pipette design
  • Westergren tube denotes the disposable plastic alternative
  • Westergren system/method describes the standardized protocol and materials as a whole

Both the pipette and tube are integral parts of performing the Westergren ESR test.

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