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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Critical Care and Emergency Medicine - Immunology - Infectious Diseases - Physiology - Public Health and Epidemiology - Respiratory Medicine

The Neutrophil-Lymphocyte Count Ratio in Patients with Community-Acquired Pneumonia
Published: Monday, October 01, 2012
Author: Cornelis P. C. de Jager et al.

by Cornelis P. C. de Jager, Peter C. Wever, Eugenie F. A. Gemen, Ron Kusters, Arianne B. van Gageldonk-Lafeber, Tom van der Poll, Robert J. F. Laheij

Study Objective

The neutrophil-lymphocyte count ratio (NLCR) has been identified as a predictor of bacteremia in medical emergencies. The aim of this study was to investigate the value of the NLCR in patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).

Methods and Results

Consecutive adult patients were prospectively studied. Pneumonia severity (CURB-65 score), clinical characteristics, complications and outcomes were related to the NLCR and compared with C-reactive protein (CRP), neutrophil count, white blood cell (WBC) count. The study cohort consisted of 395 patients diagnosed with CAP. The mean age of the patients was 63.4±16.0 years. 87.6% (346/395) of the patients required hospital admission, 7.8% (31/395) patients were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 5.8% (23/395) patients of the study cohort died. The NLCR was increased in all patients, predicted adverse medical outcome and consistently increased as the CURB-65 score advanced. NLCR levels (mean ± SD) were significantly higher in non-survivors (23.3±16.8) than in survivors (13.0±11.4). The receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve for NLCR predicting mortality showed an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.701. This was better than the AUC for the neutrophil count, WBC count, lymphocyte count and CRP level (0.681, 0.672, 0.630 and 0.565, respectively).


Admission NLCR at the emergency department predicts severity and outcome of CAP with a higher prognostic accuracy as compared with traditional infection markers.