What are the signs and symptoms of immunoglobulin A deficiency (IgAD)?

Updated: May 15, 2018
  • Author: Marina Y Dolina, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Previous studies based on analysis of blood donor banks have suggested that up to 90% of patients with selective immunoglobulin A deficiency (SIgAD) are asymptomatic. However, recent follow-up studies demonstrate that 80% of individuals with IgAD developed symptoms later in their life. [70] Symptomatic patients have a history significant for recurrent otitis media, sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, GI tract infections, severe allergic reaction following infusions with immunoglobulins or blood transfusions, or, in children, failure to thrive.

  • Recurrent sinopulmonary infection is the most common illness associated with IgAD. Most upper and lower respiratory tract infections are caused by bacterial or viral pathogens characteristic of community-acquired pneumonia. Patients with concomitant IgG type 2 subclass deficiency may have a higher risk for recurrent infections from S pneumoniae, H influenzae, M catarrhalis, or Staphylococcus aureus.

  • Various GI tract infections with viruses, bacteria, and G lamblia parasites manifest as chronic diarrhea with or without malabsorption. Biopsy specimens may show nodular lymphoid hyperplasia with flattened villi.

  • Food allergy and other atopic disorders, such as allergic conjunctivitis, rhinitis, urticaria, atopic dermatitis, and asthma, are common in patients with IgAD.

  • Of patients with IgAD, 10-44% have anti-IgA antibodies, and these patients may have severe adverse reactions to IgA-containing materials such as blood, plasma, or immunoglobulin. [71]

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