Original Article

Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) greater than 6.5 may reflect the progression of COVID-19 towards an unfavorable clinical outcome


Background and Objectives: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which was first described during a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, has attracted tremendous attention in a short period of time as the death toll and the number of confirmed cases is growing unceasingly. Although molecular testing is the gold standard method of SARS-CoV-2 detection, the existence of the false-negative results presents a major limitation to this method.
Materials and Methods: This retrospective Double-Centre study was conducted on 1320 COVID-19 patients recruited at Taleghani and Shohadae Tajrish Hospitals in Tehran, Iran. We analyzed the leukocyte, lymphocyte and neutrophil counts of hospitalized cases both on admission and at discharge. We also evaluated the alteration of these parameters within a seven-day follow-up.
Results: Of the whole, 1077 (81.6%) neither were admitted to intensive care unit (ICU) nor experienced death, and were defined as the mild-moderate group. Of 243 severe cases, while 59 (24.3%) were admitted to ICU and cured with the intensive care services, 184 (75.7%) patients died of the disease, either with or without ICU admission. Calculation of neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) revealed that the mild-moderate cases had a lower ratio at discharge. On the other hand, the ratio was significantly higher in the death group as compared to the ICU group; highlighting the fact that patients with a higher degree of neutrophilia and a greater level of lymphopenia have a poor prognosis.
Conclusion: We suggest that NLR greater than 6.5 may reflect the progression of the disease towards an unfavorable clinical outcome, with this notion that the ratios higher than 9 may strongly result in death.

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IssueVol 12 No 5 (2020) QRcode
SectionOriginal Article(s)
DOI https://doi.org/10.18502/ijm.v12i5.4609
COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Prognosis; Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio; Hematological parameters

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How to Cite
Pirsalehi A, Salari S, Baghestani A, Vahidi M, Jalilian Khave L, Akbari ME, Bashash D. Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) greater than 6.5 may reflect the progression of COVID-19 towards an unfavorable clinical outcome. Iran J Microbiol. 12(5):466-474.