Lung Function and Health Status in Individuals with Severe Alpha-1-Antitrypsin Deficiency at the Age of 42

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Background: Severe hereditary alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is a known risk factor for the early development of pulmonary emphysema and COPD, especially in smo-kers. By the Swedish national screening programme carried out from 1972 to 1974, a cohort of individuals with severe (PiZZ) AATD was identified and has been followed up regularly. The aim of this study was to investigate health status, quality of life and lung function in this cohort at the age of 42 years compared with an age-matched control group randomly selected from the population registry. Methods: All study participants answered a questionnaire on smoking habits, symptoms, occupation, exposure to airway irritants and quality of life using Saint George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ). They underwent complete pulmonary function tests (PFT) and forced oscillation technique (FOT) for the measurement of airway resistance and reactance. Blood samples were taken for allergies and IgG-subclasses as an indicator of increased risk of airway infections. Results: The residual volume (RV), total lung capacity (TLC) and RV/TLC ratio were significantly higher in the PiZZ ever-smokers compared to the PiMM ever-smokers and PiZZ never-smokers (p < 0.05). The resistance in the upper, small and total airways was significantly lower in PiZZ subjects compared to PiMM subjects (p < 0.05). A greater propor-tion of PiZZ never-smokers had an FEV1 /VC ratio <0.7 than PiMM never-smokers (p = 0.043). PiZZ subjects with occupational exposure to airway irritants showed a significantly lower FEV1, VC and higher RV/TLC ratio than PiMM individuals with exposure (p < 0.05). Conclusion: At the age of 42, ever-smoking PiZZ individuals have signs of COPD, and also PiZZ never-smokers have early, physiological signs of emphysema.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3477-3485
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of COPD
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy

Free keywords

  • Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency
  • COPD
  • Lung function
  • Quality of life


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