High White Blood Cell count, high CHD mortality

A high White Blood Cell (WBC) count is associated with a higher CHD mortality in the Zutphen Elderly Study. After adjustment for risk factors each 109/L increase in WBC was associated with a 27% greater 5-year CHD mortality. WBC is greater in smokers, but this association was independent of smoking.


WBCs are activated in the presence of atherosclerosis, which is an inflammatory process. Activated WBCs release products that induce plaque rupture and subsequent thrombus formation resulting in fatal CHD. Zutphen Elderly Study results suggest that WBC count is an important risk factor of CHD in older people.

About the Zutphen Elderly Study

The Zutphen Elderly Study is an extension of the original Zutphen Study with a sample of the same age where detailed information on the diet of all the participants was collected four times between 1985 and 2000.  Read more about the Zutphen (Elderly) Study.