Blood eosinophil is a readily available biomarker to reflect the eosinophilic inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients, yet its association with exacerbation is inconclusive. It is uncertain which measurement, eosinophil percentage or absolute eosinophil count, should be used and what is the optimal cutoff for exacerbation prediction.
A total of 247 COPD patients were included in this retrospective cohort study. Blood eosinophil during stable disease state, baseline demographics, and clinical characteristics in 12 months after the index complete blood count (CBC) were recorded. Exacerbation frequencies were compared between patients with high and low blood eosinophil percentage using 2% as cut-off. Logistic regression and receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve analyses were conducted.
Patients with blood eosinophil ≥2% were associated with more frequent exacerbations than patients with eosinophil <2% in the 12 months after the index CBC (mean exacerbation 1.07 vs 0.34, p < 0.001). Higher blood eosinophil percentage conferred a higher risk of exacerbation. Adjusted odds ratio for exacerbation in 12 months after the index CBC for blood eosinophil ≥2% was 2.98 (95% confidence interval = 1.42–6.25). The area under the ROC curve of eosinophil percentage was significantly higher than that of absolute eosinophil count (0.678 vs 0.640, p = 0.010). The optimal cutoff of blood eosinophil percentage for exacerbation prediction was 2.8%.