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Eosinophilic and non-eosinophilic COPD patients with chronic respiratory failure: neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio as an exacerbation marker

Authors Acartürk Tunçay E, Karakurt Z, Aksoy E, Saltürk C, Gungor S, Cıftaslan N, Irmak I, Yavuz D, Ocakli B, Adıgüzel N

Received 25 July 2017

Accepted for publication 16 October 2017

Published 23 November 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 3361—3370

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S147261

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell


Eylem Acartürk Tunçay, Zuhal Karakurt, Emine Aksoy, Cuneyt Saltürk, Sinem Gungor, Nezihe Ciftaslan, İlim Irmak, Dilek Yavuz, Birsen Ocakli, Nalan Adıgüzel

Respiratory Intensive Care Unit, Sureyyapaşa Chest Diseases and Thoracic Surgery Education and Research Hospital, University of Health Sciences, Istanbul, Turkey

Aim: Increased dyspnea, sputum volume, and purulence are subjective symptoms in COPD patients. To diagnose COPD exacerbations with chronic respiratory failure (CRF) and to assess the requirement for antibiotic treatment, physicians require more objective criteria. We aimed to investigate whether neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) can be used as an infectious exacerbation marker in COPD patients with CRF.
Patients and methods: This retrospective cross-sectional study was performed in the intensive care outpatient clinic of a tertiary training hospital between 2014 and 2015. Patients admitted with CRF due to COPD and who had complete blood count (CBC) results were enrolled. CBC results and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were obtained from the hospital online database. The “modified exacerbation model (MEM)” was defined as follows: exacerbation A, leukocytes ≥12,000/mm3, CRP >10 mg/dL; exacerbation B, leukocytes ≥10,000/mm3, CRP >10 mg/dL; exacerbation C, leukocytes ≥10,000/mm3, CRP >8 mg/dL; exacerbation D, leukocytes ≥10,000/mm3, CRP >5 mg/dL. The cutoff value of NLR was defined for each model. Patients were split into two groups based on the NLR cutoff value according to the “NLR exacerbation model” and further subgrouped according to peripheral eosinophil percentage (eosinophils ≥2% and <2%) and compared with the MEM.
Results: A total of 1,066 COPD patients (430 females, 40.3%), with a mean age of 66±13 years, were included. A NLR cutoff value of 3.54 (NLR ≥3.54, n=366, 34%) showed the highest sensitivity and specificity for model A (78%, 69%), model B (63%, 71%), model C (61%, 72%), and model D (58%, 72%). Peripheral eosinophilia (PE ≥2%) was present in 48 patients (4.5%). The ratio of patients with PE <2% in the NLR ≥3.54 group was significantly higher in the MEM (P<0.001).
Conclusion: The NLR presents an attractive option as an exacerbation marker in COPD patients with CRF due to its simplicity and cost-effectiveness. In COPD patients with CRF, where the NLR is ≥3.54, PE levels are <2%, and subjective symptoms are present, antibiotic treatment should be considered.

Keywords: COPD, exacerbation, chronic respiratory failure, neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, peripheral eosinophilia

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