Today's Clinical Lab - News, Editorial and Products for the Clinical Laboratory
Low Lymphocyte Count May Indicate Increased Mortality Risk

Low Lymphocyte Count May Indicate Increased Mortality Risk

Study finds lymphopenia is associated with a 1.6-fold increase in risk of dying from any cause

Photo of the Today's Clinical Lab logo
Today's Clinical Lab

Today’s Clinical Lab is a reader-centric publication that keeps clinical professionals up to date with today’s rapidly changing lab industry with in-depth and timely editorial content and resources, including clinical...

ViewFull Profile
Learn about ourEditorial Policies.
Published:Jan 17, 2020
|1 min read
Register for free to listen to this article
Listen with Speechify

Low lymphocyte counts—a condition called lymphopenia—are associated with a 1.6-fold increase in risk of death from any cause, according to a study published January 13, 2020 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal

Lymphopenia is often detected during routine blood tests, but until now, its ability to predict future health was unknown. In this prospective cohort study, researchers examined and followed 108,135 participants enrolled in the Copenhagen General Population Study with a median age of 68 over 12 years. They found that all-cause mortality in participants with lymphopenia occurred at a 60 percent higher rate than in participants with lymphocytes within the reference range.

The researchers say the association between lymphopenia and all-cause mortality may be due reduced immune capacity, which increases patient vulnerability to potentially lethal diseases. Lymphopenia could also serve as a marker of general frailty, which confers high risk of illness and death.

Predictors of mortality, such as lymphopenia, are highly valued in clinical practice because they help identify patients who may benefit from additional medical attention.