Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) has been associated with poor outcomes in patients with acute coronary syndromes. However, its role for risk stratification in acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) has not been well described. In this study, 1,212 consecutive patients admitted with ADHF who had total white blood cell and differential counts measured at admission were analyzed. The patients were divided into tertiles according to NLR. The association between NLR and white blood cell types with all-cause mortality was assessed using Cox regression analysis. During a median follow-up period of 26 months, a total of 284 patients (23.4%) had died, and a positive trend between death and NLR was observed; 32.8%, 23.2%, and 14.2% of deaths occurred in the higher, middle, and lower tertiles, respectively (p <0.001). After adjusting for confounding factors, multivariate analysis demonstrated that patients in the higher NLR tertile had the highest mortality (adjusted hazard ratio 2.23, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.63 to 3.02, p <0.001), followed by those in the middle tertile (adjusted hazard ratio 1.62, 95% CI 1.16 to 2.23, p = 0.001). Furthermore, tertiles of NLR were superior in predicting long-term mortality compared with white blood cell, neutrophil, and relative lymphocyte counts. Patients in the higher NLR tertile (adjusted odds ratio 3.46, 95% CI 2.11 to 5.68, p <0.001) had a significantly higher 30-day readmission rate. In conclusion, higher NLR, an emerging marker of inflammation, is associated with an increased risk for long-term mortality in patients admitted with ADHF. NLR is a readily available inexpensive marker to aid in the risk stratification of patients with ADHF.
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