CD4 lymphocyte count and CD4/CD8 ratio in elderly long-term care patients with oropharyngeal dysphagia: Comparison between oral and tube enteral feeding

A. Leibovitz, A. Sharon-Guidetti, R. Segal, L. Blavat, S. Peller, B. Habot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many institutionalized elderly patients are at risk of undernutrition as a result of oropharyngeal dysphagia (OD) that possibly affects their immunological status. Tube enteral fed (TEF) patients on controlled intake of nutrients enables us to evaluate the effect of inadequate nutrition on the immune system in the orally fed elderly with OD. The aim of our study was to compare CD4 lymphocyte count and CD4/CD8 ratio between these two differently fed groups. Twenty-eight orally fed patients with OD in the Functional Outcome Swallowing Scale (FOSS) stage 2 (group A) and 17 TEF subjects (group B) were studied. CD4 and CD8 counts were determined by flow cytometry. Nutritional markers (albumin, hemoglobin, and basal metabolic index) were recorded for each group. The Charlson index was used for comparison of comorbidity between the two patient groups. The average count of CD4 lymphocytes was significantly lower in group A than in group B (754 ± 365 vs. 1032 ± 404 cells/ml, p < 0.01). Six patients in group A (21%) had a CD4 count of less than 400 cells/ml (lower threshold) while all the patients in group B had a CD4 count of over 500 cells/ml (p < 0.001). The CD4/CD8 average ratio was also significantly lower in group A (p < 0.008). Nutritional markers were within normal limits with no difference between the groups. These results confirm our presumption that a low CD4 lymphocyte count and a low CD4/CD8 ratio could prevail among elderly frail patients with dysphagia. This supports the view that under an apparently satisfactory nutritional profile these patients may be in a state of undernutrition that negatively influences their immunodefense.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-86
Number of pages4
JournalDysphagia
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

Keywords

  • CD4 lymphocyte count
  • CD4/CD8 ratio
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Elderly
  • Oropharyngeal dysphagia
  • Undernutrition

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