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Relation of Neutrophil to Lymphocyte Ratio to Risk of Incident Atrial Fibrillation

Published:November 06, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2018.10.036
      Clinical and experimental data support a critical role for inflammation in cardiovascular disease. The purpose of the current study was to examine the relation between an inflammatory marker, neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), and incident atrial fibrillation (AF) in asymptomatic adults. We investigated 21,118 self-referred men and women who were annually screened in a tertiary medical center. All subjects were free of AF at baseline and had their serum NLR calculated at the first annual visit. Subjects were divided into 2 groups based on their baseline NLR: Low (<2.83; n = 17,524) and high (≥2.83; n = 3,594; Upper Sextile). The primary endpoint was new onset AF during follow-up. Mean age of study population was 48 ± 10 years and 72% were men. A total of 563 (2.7%) incident events occurred during an average follow-up of 7.5 ± 5 years. Unadjusted Cox regression analysis demonstrated that each 1 unit increase in NLR was associated with a significant 14% increase in risk of occurrence of a first AF event (95% confidence interval 1.06 to 1.23, p < 0.001) and 20% increased risk of death. Kaplan-Meier's survival analysis showed that the cumulative probability of incident AF was significantly higher among subjects with high NLR compared with low NLR group (p = 0.006). Interaction analysis with adjustment to clinical parameters showed that NLR-related risk was age-dependent, such that in the younger age-group (< =50 years) high NLR group had two folds increased risk for AF event compared with low NLR group (95% confidence interval 1.08 to 3.51; p = 0.027) whereas among older subjects the rate of events was similar between both NLR groups (p = NS; p for interaction = 0.024). In conclusion, our findings suggest that high NLR is associated with increased risk of new onset AF. This finding is more pronounced among young adults.
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