Aim: Delirium is a common and severe complication among older hospitalized patients. The pathophysiology is poorly understood, but it has been suggested that inflammation and oxidative stress may play a role. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate levels of the neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) - a marker of systemic inflammation and oxidative stress - in patients with and without delirium. Methods: This pilot study was performed within a retrospective chart review study that included acutely ill patients, 65 years and older, who were admitted to the ward of geriatrics of the Erasmus University Medical Center. All patients in whom the differential white blood cell (WBC) counts as well as the C-reactive protein (CRP) level were determined within 24 h after admission were included in the present study. Differences in NLR between patients with and without delirium were investigated using univariate analysis of variance, with adjustments for age, sex, comorbidities, CRP level, and total WBC count. Results: Eighty-six patients were included. Thirteen patients were diagnosed with delirium. In adjusted models, higher mean NLR values were found in patients with, than in those without, delirium (9.10 vs 5.18, P=0.003). Conclusion: In this pilot study, we found increased NLR levels in patients with delirium. This finding might suggest that an inadequate response of the immune system and oxidative stress may play a role in the pathogenesis of delirium. Further studies are needed to confirm the association between NLR and delirium.

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Keywords Biomarkers, Brain, Delirium, Immune system, Leukocytes, Pathology
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Journal Clinical Interventions in Aging
Eegberts, A. (Angelique), & Mattace-Rraso, F.U.S. (Francesco U.S.). (2017). Increased neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio in delirium: A pilot study. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 12, 1115–1121. doi:10.2147/CIA.S137182