Lymphopenia in hospitalized patients and its relationship with severity of illness and mortality

Link to article at PubMed

PLoS One. 2021 Aug 13;16(8):e0256205. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0256205. eCollection 2021.


BACKGROUND: Lymphopenia is associated with various pathologies such as sepsis, burns, trauma, general anesthesia and major surgeries. All these pathologies are clinically expressed by the so-called Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome which does not include lymphopenia into defining criteria. The main objective of this work was to analyze the diagnosis of patients admitted to a hospital related to lymphopenia during hospital stay. In addition, we investigated the relationship of lymphopenia with the four levels of the Severity of Illness (SOI) and the Risk of Mortality (ROM).

METHOD AND FINDINGS: Lymphopenia was defined as Absolute Lymphocyte Count (ALC) <1.0 x109/L. ALC were analyzed every day since admission. The four levels (minor, moderate, major and extreme risk) of both SOI and ROM were assessed. A total of 58,260 hospital admissions were analyzed. More than 41% of the patients had lymphopenia during hospital stay. The mean time to death was shorter among patients with lymphopenia on admission 65.6 days (CI95%, 57.3-73.8) vs 89.9 (CI95%, 82.4-97.4), P<0.001. Also, patients with lymphopenia during hospital stay had a shorter time to the mortality, 67.5 (CI95%, 61.1-73.9) vs 96.9 (CI95%, 92.6-101.2), P<0.001.

CONCLUSIONS: Lymphopenia had a high prevalence in hospitalized patients with greater relevance in infectious pathologies. Lymphopenia was related and clearly predicts SOI and ROM at the time of admission, and should be considered as clinical diagnostic criteria to define SIRS.

PMID:34388210 | PMC:PMC8362940 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0256205

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