BACKGROUND: Emerging evidence suggests that the neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio (NLR) may be a useful marker of cardiovascular disease and a more powerful predictor than any other leukocyte subtypes. We determined whether NLR is related to atherosclerosis measured by brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) and coronary calcium score (CCS).
METHODS: We examined the relationship of NLR with baPWV and CCS in 849 Korean adults in a health examination program. The odds ratios for a high baPWV or a high CCS were calculated using multivariate logistic regression analysis across NLR quartiles. A high baPWV was defined as >1500 cm/s (>75th percentile) and a high CCS was defined as over 100 (at least moderate atherosclerotic plaque burden).
RESULTS: The ORs (95% CIs) for a high baPWV by NLR quartiles were 1.00, 0.76 (0.41-1.39), 1.08 (0.61-1.90), and 2.12 (1.18-3.83) after adjusting for confounding variables. Similarly, positive associations between NLR and a high CCS were also observed after adjusting for the same co-variables.
CONCLUSION: A higher NLR was independently associated with arterial stiffness and CCS. Accordingly, a higher NLR may be a useful additional measure in assessing cardiovascular risks in clinical practice.