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Editor's Correspondence
March 12, 2001

The Primary Deficiency Resulting From Acute Severe Illness in Nonimmunocompromised Patients Is Not the CD4+ Subtype, but the Total Number of Lymphocytes

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Copyright 2001 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2001

Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(5):771-778. doi:

In their interesting article, Aldrich et al1 reported the CD4+ lymphocyte counts of 53 patients admitted to an intensive care unit for diverse infectious and noninfectious conditions and who tested negative for human immunodeficiency virus. The authors found a high rate of absolute CD4+ lymphopenia among these patients, whereas the percentage of these cells and the CD4/CD8 ratio was normal in most of them. As noted by the authors, the fact that the relative counts of CD4+ lymphocytes were normal in most of these patients and the absolute counts were low suggests that the key point is not CD4+ lymphopenia but panlymphopenia. However, the authors did not analyze or report the total lymphocyte counts.

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