Simple Blood Test in Sarcoidosis Patients Could Predict Risk of Pulmonary Hypertension

Özge Özkaya, PhD avatar

by Özge Özkaya, PhD |

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Sarcoidosis, lung transplant

There may be an association between the level of inflammation in sarcoidosis patients and their risk of developing pulmonary hypertension (PH), according to a new study.

The neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR), which is a marker of inflammation, could be used as a good negative test to predict the risk of PH in sarcoidosis patients.

For the study titled “Association of Neutrophil to Lymphocyte Ratio and Pulmonary Hypertension in Sarcoidosis Patients,” published in the journal Tanaffos, Dr. Nadera Sweiss of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy in the Department of Medicine at the University of Illinois in Chicago and colleagues measured the NLR in the blood of adult sarcoidosis patients.

The measurements were taken between January 2010 and January 2015 at the University of Illinois. A total of 107 patients ages 44 to 63 were included in the study. The patients were divided into two groups: those with PH (28) and those without.

The results showed that sarcoidosis patients with PH had a significantly higher frequency of NLR above 3.5, which was determined as the most appropriate cutoff value for negative predictive value to distinguish between sarcoidosis patients, with and without PH. The negative predictive value of this ratio was more than 80 percent.

Based on the results, the researchers suggested that NLR could be a simple and inexpensive test to predict the risk of PH in sarcoidosis patients.

“NLR is a simple, inexpensive, and widely available test that is routinely measured in office-based settings and adds no extra cost,” the authors wrote in their article, adding that “larger studies are required to evaluate the value of NLR in predicting sarcoidosis-associated PH and confirm our findings before being used in the primary care setting.”

Recent studies have reported that NLR is associated with the severity and prognosis of many lung and heart diseases.

PH, or high blood pressure in the lungs, is a complication that can sometimes develop in sarcoidosis patients. Over time, this abnormally high pressure strains the heart and can lead to heart failure. Being able to predict the risk of PH early with a simple blood test could be invaluable in taking the necessary steps to prevent it.