Bronchial asthma is a chronic inflammatory illness of the airways accompanied by systemic
inflammation in almost all affected patients. This study aimed to evaluate the diagnostic value of
neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) in the detection of asthma cases in Baghdad, Iraq. It was a
case-control study that included a total of 62 adult patients with asthma who were clinically
diagnosed by a consultative physician, and 68 age- and gender-matched apparently healthy
subjects as a control group. Samples of peripheral blood were collected from each participant.
The NLR was calculated by dividing the absolute neutrophil count by the absolute lymphocyte
count. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was used to assess the diagnostic value
of NLR in the detection of asthma cases. Mean NLR in asthma patients was 2.33 ± 0.89
compared with 1.82 ± 1.04 in controls with a highly significant difference. The area under the
curve (AUC) was 0.886 (95% CI = 0.762-0.951), p = 0.002. The sensitivity and specificity of
the test at NLR = 2.11 were 82.8% and 73%, respectively. There was a significant positive
correlation between NLR and the number of asthma attacks/year (r = 0.247, p = 0.037). Thus,
NLR is a reasonable, easy-to-use, and cheap test that can be routinely used to evaluate the
inflammatory response in asthmatic patients.
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