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.
Collazos J, Mayo J, Ibarra S, Martínez E. The Primary Deficiency Resulting From Acute Severe Illness in Nonimmunocompromised Patients Is Not the CD4+ Subtype, but the Total Number of Lymphocytes. Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(5):771-778. doi: