Stig E Bojesen Professor, chief physician, dr.med.sci. Dept of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev Gentofte Hospital Copenhagen University Hospital Department of Clinical Medicine University of Copenhagen

Incidental Low Lymphocyte Count Linked to Increased Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stig E Bojesen Professor, chief physician, dr.med.sci. Dept of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev Gentofte Hospital Copenhagen University Hospital Department of Clinical Medicine University of Copenhagen

Dr. Bojesen

Stig E Bojesen
Professor, chief physician, dr.med.sci.
Dept of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev Gentofte Hospital
Copenhagen University Hospital
Department of Clinical Medicine
University of Copenhagen

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Before this study, we did not know the value of an incidental finding of lymphopenia of an otherwise healthy individual from the general population. This is curious since lymphocyte count is a very simple measurement done almost every time you have a blood test done.

 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: The main finding is that a lymphopenic person, all other things being equal has a higher risk of dying than persons with lymphocyte count in the reference range.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response:  If you observe incidental lymphopenia, it might be worth considering to follow up on this after some time. It can be due to an underlying disease, but even in the absence of a clear cause, the patient might still benefit from your increased attention. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: After this study, we still do not know whether the increased mortality after incidental lymphopenia can be curbed by increased attention from the general practitioner, and which kind of specific medical action will benefit the most. Also, we do not know whether lymphopenia in itself is a cause of the increased mortality or just a passive marker of an underlying disease/condition which is more likely to be the cause of the increased mortality. If the former is true, then it would make sense to try and raise the lymphocyte count. This would, however, be pointless if the latter is true. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response:  Even though we could not clarify causality, we were able to identify subgroups of the general population for whom lymphopenia was indicative of very high mortality, eg. the absolute 2-year risk of dying was 75% for smoking men >80 years of age with deep lymphopenia (<0.5 x 10E9/L) versus 29% for smoking men >80 years of age with a normal lymphocyte count. No disclosures.

Citation:

Incidental lymphopenia and mortality: a prospective cohort study
Marie Warny, Jens Helby, Børge Grønne Nordestgaard, Henrik Birgens and Stig Egil Bojesen
CMAJ January 13, 2020 192 (2) E25-E33; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.191024

 

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Last Modified: Jan 13, 2020 @ 12:28 pm

 

 

 

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