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15-03-2011 | Cardiology | Article

Lymphocyte levels may predict HF mortality risk


Free abstract

MedWire news: Study findings indicate that the total lymphocyte count (TLC) in heart failure (HF) patients is inversely associated with their 5-year mortality risk.

Although low TLC "correlated with a lower New York Heart association [NYHA] class and a lower left ventricular ejection fraction [LVEF], it emerged as an independent death risk factor in patients with chronic HF," say Gideon Charach (Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Israel) and co-authors.

They suggest that the relationship between TLC and mortality risk "can be explained by increased inflammatory activation (ie, neurohumoral and oxidative stress)."

As reported in the American Journal of Cardiology, the team found that among a group of 305 HF patients with a mean NYHA class of 2.8, TLC of 1803, and LVEF of 37%, those with a low TLC (<1600) had a significantly higher 5-year mortality rate (42%) than those with a high TLC (≥1600; 28%).

This is equivalent to a 24% lower 5-year survival rate among patients with a low TLC compared with those with a high TLC (p=0.037), explains the team.

Charach et al also found that although TLC and severe HF (defined as NYHA class III or IV, and/or LVEF <40%) were inversely related, both factors had a synergistic effect on mortality risk, such that the patients with the worst survival rates were those with a low TLC and NYHA class III or IV, and those with the best survival rates were those with a high TLC and a LVEF of at least 40%

This, they say, illustrates that TLC, NYHA class, and LVEF are likely to be independent predictors of mortality risk.

Charach and team conclude that their findings provide strong evidence for TLC as an important prognostic factor in HF patients.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Lauretta Ihonor

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