Elevated neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio predicts mortality in medical inpatients with multiple chronic conditions

Vivian Isaac, Chia-Yi Wu, Chun-Ta Huang, Bernhard T Baune, Chia-Lin Tseng, Craig S McLachlan

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49 Citations (Scopus)
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Neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) is an easy measurable laboratory marker used to evaluate systemic inflammation. Elevated NLR is associated with poor survival and increased morbidity in cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, the usefulness of NLR to predict morbidity and mortality in a hospital setting for patients with multiple chronic conditions has not been previously examined. In this study, we investigate the association between NLR and mortality in multimorbid medical inpatients. Two hundred thirty medical in-patients with chronic conditions were selected from a single academic medical center in Taiwan. Retrospective NLRs were calculated from routine full blood counts previously obtained during the initial hospital admission and at the time of discharge. Self-rated health (using a single-item question), medical disorders, depressive symptoms, and medical service utilization over a 1-year period were included in the analyses. Mortality outcomes were ascertained by reviewing electronic medical records and follow-up. The mortality rate at 2-year follow-up was 23%. Depression (odds ratio [OR] 1.9 [95% CI 1.0-3.7]), poor self-rated health (OR 2.1 [95% CI 1.1-3.9]), being hospitalized 2 or more times in the previous year (OR 2.3 [95% CI 1.2-4.6]), metastatic cancer (OR 4.7 [95% CI 2.3-9.7]), and chronic liver disease (OR 4.3 [95% CI 1.5-12.1]) were associated with 2-year mortality. The median (interquartile range) NLR at admission and discharge were 4.47 (2.4-8.7) and 3.65 (2.1-6.5), respectively. Two-year mortality rates were higher in patients with an elevated NLR at admission (NLR <3 = 15.5%, NLR >3 = 27.6%) and discharge (NLR < 3 = 14.7%, NLR >3 = 29.1%). Multivariate logistic regression demonstrated that an elevated NLR >3.0 at admission (OR 2.3 [95% CI 1.0-5.2]) and discharge (OR 2.3 [95% CI 1.1-5.0]) were associated with mortality independent of baseline age, sex, education, metastatic cancer, liver disease, depression, and previous hospitalization. Increased NLR is associated with mortality among medical inpatients with multiple chronic conditions. NLR may provide added value to predict both risk of mortality for the inpatients with chronic conditions, in addition to allowing predictions of likely hospital service needs such as re-admissions that are associated with long-term mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e3832
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


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