Suppressor T lymphocyte function was examined in 11 patients with idiopathic congestive cardiomyopathy and in 11 age and sex matched patients with a similar degree of heart failure resulting from ischaemic heart disease. Suppressor T lymphocyte function was also assessed in a control population of 11 normal subjects. Suppressor T lymphocyte function was reduced in both groups of patients with heart failure but not significantly, and a wide range of suppression was demonstrated in all groups. These data do not support the hypothesis that there is a defect in T lymphocyte function in patients with congestive cardiomyopathy, but they do suggest that there may be a non-specific reduction in T lymphocyte suppressor function associated with heart failure in general.
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