Admission Total Leukocyte Count as a Predictor of Mortality in Cardiac Intensive Care Unit Patients

Ryan J. Smith, Dhruv Sarma, Mitchell R. Padkins, Ognjen Gajic, Patrick R. Lawler, Sean Van Diepen, Kianoush B. Kashani, Jacob C. Jentzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Inflammation is a sequela of cardiovascular critical illness and a risk factor for mortality. Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the association between white blood cell count (WBC) and mortality in a broad population of patients admitted to the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU). Methods: This retrospective cohort study included patients admitted to the Mayo Clinic CICU between 2007 and 2018. We analyzed WBC as a continuous variable and then categorized WBC as low (<4.0 × 103/mL), normal (≥4.0 to <11.0 × 103/mL), high (≥11.0 to <22.0 × 103/mL), or very high (≥22.0 × 103/mL). The association between WBC and in-hospital mortality was evaluated using multivariable logistic regression and random forest models. Results: We included 11,699 patients with a median age of 69.3 years (37.6% females). Median WBC was 9.6 (IQR: 7.4-12.7). Mortality was higher in the low (10.5%), high (12.0%), and very high (33.3%) WBC groups relative to the normal WBC group (5.3%). A rising WBC was incrementally associated with higher in-hospital mortality after adjustment (AICc adjusted OR: 1.03 [95% CI: 1.02-1.04] per 1 × 103 increase in WBC). After adjustment, only the high (AICc adjusted OR: 1.37 [95% CI: 1.15-1.64]) and very high (AICc adjusted OR: 1.99 [1.47-2.71]) WBC groups remained associated with increased risk of in-hospital mortality. Conclusions: Leukocytosis is associated with an increased mortality risk in a diverse cohort of CICU patients. This readily available marker of systemic inflammation may be useful for risk stratification within the increasingly complex CICU patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100757
JournalJACC: Advances
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • CICU
  • inflammation
  • mortality
  • WBC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Dentistry (miscellaneous)


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