Usefulness of neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio as predictor of new-onset atrial fibrillation after coronary artery bypass grafting

Patrick H Gibson, Brian H Cuthbertson, Bernard L Croal, Daniela Rae, Hussein El-Shafei, George Gibson, Robert R Jeffrey, Keith G Buchan, Graham S Hillis

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211 Citations (Scopus)


The neutrophil/lymphocyte (N/L) ratio integrates information on the inflammatory milieu and physiologic stress. It is an emerging marker of prognosis in patients with cardiovascular disease. We investigated the relation between the N/L ratio and postoperative atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting. In a prospective cohort study, 275 patients undergoing nonemergency coronary artery bypass grafting were recruited. Patients with previous atrial arrhythmia or requiring concomitant valve surgery were excluded. The N/L ratio was determined preoperatively and on postoperative day 2. The study end point was AF lasting >30 seconds. Patients who developed AF (n = 107, 39%) had had a greater preoperative N/L ratio (median 3.0 vs 2.4, p = 0.001), but no differences were found in the other white blood cell parameters or C-reactive protein. The postoperative N/L ratio was greater in patients with AF (day 2, median 9.2 vs 7.2, p <0.001), and in multivariate models, a greater postoperative N/L ratio was independently associated with a greater incidence of AF (odds ratio 1.10 per unit increase, p = 0.003: odds ratio for N/L ratio >10.14 [optimal postoperative cutoff in our cohort], 2.83 per unit, p <0.001). Elevated pre- and postoperative N/L ratios were associated with an increased occurrence of AF after coronary artery bypass grafting. In conclusion, these results support an inflammatory etiology in postoperative AF but suggest that other factors are also important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-191
Number of pages6
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number2
Early online date3 Dec 2009
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2010

Bibliographical note

We thank the staff of the Cardiothoracic Surgical Unit, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, United Kingdom, for their support.


  • Aged
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Artery Bypass
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophils
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors


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