The role of neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio in predicting the severity of sepsis in a tertiary care hospital in South India: a retrospective study

Alfy Ann George, Teju P. Thomas, Abdul Gaffoor


Background: Sepsis, a syndrome of dysregulated host response to infection leading to life-threatening organ dysfunction, is having a substantial burden in health system. The outcome in sepsis is often time dependent. None of the clinical manifestations nor the age-old markers like ESR, CRP, etc. have proven diagnostic or prognostic of sepsis. This study aims to assess the role of neutrophil: lymphocyte ratio (NLR) in assessing the severity of sepsis within the initial 24 hrs of admission.

Methods: Authors did a retrospective observational study in 208 sepsis patients admitted in the MDICU. The NLR was calculated and the study population was grouped into those with an NLR of more than or equal to 5 and those with less than 5. The patients were also grouped based on the number of organs impaired due to sepsis. The association between these groups were then assessed.

Results: 46 patients (60.5%) with single organ involvement had NLR <5; 30 patients (39.5%) had NLR >5; 27 patients (42.2%) with two organ involvement had NLR <5 and 37 patients (57.8%) had NLR >5. Among patients with more than two organ involvement, 8 patients (21.6%) had NLR <5 and 29 patients (78.4%) had NLR >5. It was found that there is statistically significant association between increase in number of organs involved and NLR more than 5. The chi square test value was 15.691 with a p value was less than 0.001.

Conclusions: In the current study, we have evaluated the role of NLR in sepsis. NLR calculated on the day of admission is a simple parameter that helps to stratify patients into severe risk category. A significant association was found with higher NLR and the number of organs impairment in sepsis.


Neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio, Organ involvement, Sepsis, WBC count

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