How is common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) diagnosed?

Updated: Feb 23, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) can be diagnosed after defective functional antibody formation is obtained. Usually, patients have decreased (not absent) serum IgA and IgG levels and, occasionally, decreased serum IgM levels in the absence of other known causes of antibody deficiency. Low serum IgE is a sensitive and specific marker for CVID. Accordingly, routine serum IgE levels should be used in evaluating patients with hypogammaglobulinemia. [43]

Compared with patients with X-linked agammaglobulinemia, patients with CVID generally have higher serum Ig levels; however, the levels are consistently depressed. The reference range for serum Ig varies with the patient's age, and the Ig results must be evaluated on the basis of these age-dependent ranges.

Although electrophoresis and immunoelectrophoresis are not acceptable techniques for the quantification of Ig levels, radial immunodiffusion or immunoturbidimetric methods remain valuable.


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