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Neutrophil Count Helps Pinpoint Heart Disease Risk

Postmenopausal hypertensive women at higher risk if neutrophil count elevated

THURSDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- A high peripheral neutrophil count is a useful predictor of cardiovascular disease risk in postmenopausal women with hypertension, according to a study in the April issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Fabio Angeli, M.D., of the Hospital S. Maria della Misericordia in Perugia, Italy, and colleagues conducted a study of 298 postmenopausal women diagnosed with hypertension with a mean age of 59 years, of whom 9.1 percent had diabetes and 17.5 percent were smokers. The women were subsequently treated for hypertension and followed up for a mean eight years.

There were 31 new major cardiovascular events during the follow-up period, and the risk of a cardiovascular event was associated with age, diabetes, serum creatinine, blood pressure, left ventricular hypertrophy and neutrophil count, the researchers found. After adjusting for traditional cardiovascular risk factors, the data showed that neutrophil count was a useful predictor of cardiovascular events. The association with higher cardiovascular disease risk appears to be independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors, the investigators discovered.

"We have shown that through a simple and inexpensive test, such as the peripheral neutrophil count, one can obtain important risk information that is additional to traditional cardiovascular risk factors," the authors write. "Because the study sample includes only white participants, caution is needed in extrapolating our results to different ethnic groups."

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