Background and aims: Severe manifestations of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are associated with alterations in blood cells that regulate immunity, inflammation, and hemostasis. We conducted an updated systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between the neutrophil, lymphocyte, and platelet count, neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), and platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR), and COVID-19 progression and mortality.
Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus for studies published between January 2020 and June 2022.
Results: In 71 studies reporting the investigated parameters within 48 hours of admission, higher NLR (HR 1.21, 95% CI 1.16 to 1.27, p < 0.0001), relative neutrophilia (HR 1.62, 95% CI 1.46 to 1.80, p < 0.0001), relative lymphopenia (HR 1.62, 95% CI 1.27 to 2.08, p < 0.001), and relative thrombocytopenia (HR 1.74, 95% CI 1.36 to 2.22, p < 0.001), but not PLR (p = 0.11), were significantly associated with disease progression and mortality. Between-study heterogeneity was large-to-extreme. The magnitude and direction of the effect size were not modified in sensitivity analysis.
Conclusions: NLR and neutrophil, lymphocyte, and platelet count significantly discriminate COVID-19 patients with different progression and survival outcomes. (PROSPERO registration number: CRD42021267875).
- COVID-19 outcomes
- lymphocyte count
- Neutrophil count
- neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio
- platelet count
- platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio