Clinical presentation of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) varies from an asymptomatic state to severe disease characterized by acute respiratory distress syndrome, respiratory failure, thrombosis, and multi-organ dysfunction syndrome. The neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) has been reviewed as one of the laboratory factors that have been proposed to predict the severity of disease and mortality in COVID-19 pandemic.
To evaluate the association between NLR and the disease severity and mortality in COVID-19.
After approval from Institutional Ethics Committee, this prospective cohort study was carried out in a tertiary-care teaching medical institute of Central India. COVID-19 patients of the age group 18 years and above admitted during the study period were included. Cases were categorized into four groups as asymptomatic (Group A), mild (Group B), moderate (Group C), and severe (Group D) based on clinical symptoms, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and chest imaging. NLR was calculated by doing a complete blood count at the time of hospitalization by the Mindray BC-6000 auto hematology analyzer. The outcome of the disease was classified as recovery and death during hospitalization. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to assess the ability of NLR at admission to predict severe COVID-19 or mortality. Ordinal regression analysis was used to assess the impact of NLR on disease severity and mortality.
Mean NLR was significantly higher in the severe COVID-19 group as compared to the mild/moderate group and in deceased as compared to discharged cases. ROC curve analysis revealed NLR to be an excellent predictor of disease severity as well as a prognostic parameter for risk of death. NLR was found to be a significant independent positive predictor for contracting the severe disease (Odd’s ratio 1.396, 95% CI=1.112-1.753, p=0.004) and mortality (Odd’s ratio 1.276, 95% CI=1.085-1.499, p=0.003).
High NLR was significantly associated with the disease severity and mortality in COVID-19.

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