Prognostic value of early leukocyte fluctuations for recovery from traumatic spinal cord injury
T Jogia, T Lübstorf, MS, E Jacobson, E Scriven, S Atresh et al.
Background: Acute traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) induces a systemic immune response involving circulating white blood cells (WBC). How this response is influenced by overall trauma severity, the neurological level of injury and/or correlates with patient outcomes is poorly understood. The objective of this study was to identify relationships between early changes in circulating WBCs, injury characteristics, and long-term patient outcomes in
individuals with traumatic SCI.
Methods: We retrospectively analysed data from n=161 SCI patients admitted to Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital (exploration cohort). Logistic regression models in conjunction with receiver-operator characteristic (ROC) analyses were used to assess the strength of specific links between the WBC response, respiratory infection incidence and neurological outcomes (American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) grade conversion). An independent validation cohort from the Trauma Hospital Berlin, Germany (n=49) was then probed to assess the robustness of effects and to disentangle centre effects.
Results: We find that the extent of acute neutrophilia in human SCI patients is positively correlated with New Injury Severity Scores (NISS) but inversely with the neurological outcome (AIS grade). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that acute SCI-induced neutrophilia is an independent predictor of AIS grade conversion failure, with an odds ratio (OR) of 4.16 and ROC area under curve (AUC) of 0.82 (p<0.0001). SCI-induced lymphopenia was separately identified as an independent predictor of better recovery (OR = 24.15; ROC AUC = 0.85, p<0.0001). Acute neutrophilia and increased neutrophil-lymphocyte ratios were
otherwise significantly associated with respiratory infection presentation in both patient cohorts.