Use of neutrophil count in early diagnosis and risk stratification of AMI

Am J Med. 2011 Jun;124(6):534-42. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2010.10.023. Epub 2011 Apr 19.


Background: Neutrophils are rapidly released into the circulation upon acute stress such as trauma or acute myocardial infarction (AMI). We hypothesized that neutrophil count might provide incremental value in the early diagnosis and risk stratification of AMI.

Methods: We conducted a prospective observational multicenter study to examine the diagnostic accuracy of the combination of neutrophil count and cardiac troponin T from 1125 consecutive patients who presented to the Emergency Department with symptoms suggestive of acute myocardial infarction. The final diagnosis was adjudicated by 2 independent cardiologists.

Results: Neutrophil count was higher in patients with acute myocardial infarction compared with other diagnoses (median 6.7 vs. 5.0×10(9)/L, respectively, P <.001). The accuracy of the neutrophil count for diagnosing acute myocardial infarction, quantified by the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was 0.69, which was significantly lower than that of cardiac troponin T (AUC 0.89, P <.001). The combination of the neutrophil count and cardiac troponin T did not improve the early diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction versus cardiac troponin T alone (P=.79). The prognostic accuracy of neutrophil count for death and AMI was significantly lower than that of cardiac troponin T. However, patients in the highest tertile of neutrophil count had a significantly increased risk of death and AMI at 90 and 360 days compared with patients in the lowest tertile (hazard ratios 2.47 [95% confidence interval, 1.63-3.72] and 2.28 [95% confidence interval, 1.55-3.36], respectively).

Conclusion: The neutrophil count does not improve the early diagnosis of AMI in patients presenting with chest pain but identifies patients at increased risk of death.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angina Pectoris / etiology
  • Area Under Curve
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / blood
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Myocardial Infarction / mortality*
  • Neutrophils*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Troponin T / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • Troponin T