U-shape relationship of white blood cells with acute kidney injury and mortality in critically Ill patients

Seung Seok Han, Shin Young Ahn, Jiwon Ryu, Seon Ha Baek, Kwang Il Kim, Ho Jun Chin, Ki Young Na, Dong Wan Chae, Sejoong Kim

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Low or high counts of white blood cells (WBCs) and WBC subtypes can be a predictor of morbidity and mortality in several clinical settings. However, the correlations of WBC and its subtypes with acute kidney injury (AKI) and mortality remain unresolved in critically ill patients. The counts of WBC and subtypes, such as neutrophil, lymphocyte, monocyte, and eosinophil, were measured in 2,079 patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) from June 2004 through June 2010. The non-linear relationship between WBC counts and AKI risk was initially explored by a restricted cubic spline analysis. The odds ratios (ORs) for AKI and 1-year mortality were calculated after adjustment for multiple covariates. The relationship between WBC counts and AKI risk was U-shaped. Accordingly, we divided patients into quintiles according to the counts of WBC or subtypes. The 1st and 5th quintiles of WBC counts had greater ORs for AKI (1.42 and 2.05, respectively) and mortality (1.40 and 1.36, respectively) compared with the 3rd quintile. After stratification by WBC subtype, the 5th quintile of neutrophil counts and the 1st quintiles of lymphocyte and monocyte counts tended to have higher ORs for AKI (1.69, 1.40, and 1.77, respectively). For mortality, the 1st quintiles of neutrophil, lymphocyte, and eosinophil counts were associated with higher mortality compared with the 3rd quintile (the ORs were 1.48, 1.57, and 1.42, respectively). Both leukopenia and leukocytosis are associated with AKI and mortality risk in critically ill patients. This result may be attributable to the change in the subtype counts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-185
Number of pages9
JournalTohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute kidney injury
  • Leukocyte
  • Lymphocyte
  • Monocyte
  • White blood cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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