Leukocyte count and risk of major coronary heart disease events

Andrew N. Phillips, James D. Neaton, Derek G. Cook, Richard H. Grimm, A. Gerald Shaper

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92 Scopus citations


The association between leukocyte count and subsequent risk of major coronary heart disease events was examined using data from three prospective cohort studies- two from the United States and one from Great Britain. A total of 28, 181 middle-aged men were followed for 6-12 years. A total of 1, 768 men had a nonfatal myocardial infarction or died of coronary heart disease. In all three cohorts, there was a positive, statistically significant relation between baseline leukocyte count and risk of subsequent major coronary heart disease events after adjustment for age, serum total cholesterol, diastolic blood pressure, and number of cigarettes smoked per day (relative odds = 1.32 (p < 0.0001), 1.15 (p = 0.0001), and 1.14 (p = 0.003), corresponding to a 2, 000/ mm3 difference in leukocyte count). The associations persisted when all nonsmokers (former smokers plus never smokers) and never smokers alone were considered and when those with evidence of preexisting coronary heart disease at baseline were excluded. Leukocyte count appears to be an indicator of a person's future risk of major coronary heart disease events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-70
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1992

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The British Regional Heart Study is conducted by a British Heart Foundation Research Group and is also supported by the British Department of Health and the Chest, Heart, and Stroke Association. Much of this work was conducted while Dr. Andrew N. Phillips was a visiting scientist at the Coordinating Centers for Biometric Research, University of Minnesota.


  • Blood cell count
  • Coronary disease
  • Leukocyte count
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Prospective studies


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