J Intensive Care Med. 2021 Oct 21:8850666211045626. doi: 10.1177/08850666211045626. Online ahead of print.
Background: The neutrophil-lymphocyte count ratio (NLR) has emerged as a potential prognostic tool for different diseases. In the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the NLR may be a useful tool for risk scarification and the optimal utilization of limited healthcare resources. However, there is no consensus regarding the optimal value of NLR, and the association with disease severity and mortality. Thus, this study aims to systematically analyze the current evidence of the utility of baseline NLR as a predictive tool for mortality, disease severity in COVID-19 patients. Methods: A compendious screening of electronic databases up to June 15, 2021, was done after enlisting the protocol in PROSPERO (CRD42020202659). Studies evaluating the utility of baseline NLR in COVID-19 are included for this review as per the PRISMA statement. Results: We retrieved a total of 13112 and 12986 COVID-19 patients for survivability and severity over 90 studies. The expired and critically sick patients had elevated baseline NLR on admission, in comparison to survivors and noncritical patients. (SMD = 3.82; 95% CI: 2.79-4.85; I2 = 100% and SMD = 1.42; 95% CI: 1.22-1.63; I2 = 95%, respectively). The summary receiver operating curve analysis for mortality (AUC = 0.87; 95% CI: 0.86-0.87; I2 = 94.7%), and severity (AUC = 0.82; 95% CI: 0.80-0.84; I2 = 79.7%) were also suggestive of its significant predictive value. Conclusions: The elevated NLR on admission in COVID-19 patients is associated with poor outcomes.