What is the prognosis of alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD)?

Updated: Sep 11, 2020
  • Author: Dora E Izaguirre Anariba, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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The major manifestation of alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) in the first two decades of life is liver disease; pulmonary manifestations appear later. Lung function appears to be normal among adolescents with PiZZ compared with a similarly matched group with alpha1-antiprotease levels in the reference range. FVC, FEV1, residual volume, and total lung capacity measurements were not different between the two groups. Lung function begins to decline at some later point. FEV1 decreases in adult PiZZ patients at 51-317 mL per year (estimated decline in healthy patients is 30 mL/y).

In the NIH registry, PiZZ individuals had a 16% likelihood of surviving to age 60 years in contrast to an 85% likelihood for the general US population. Emphysema was the most common cause of death (72%), and chronic liver disease was second (10%). In the NIH registry, of 1129 affected individuals, the mortality rate was approximately 3% per year and the excess mortality was ascribable entirely to lung and liver disease. [11]

In the Danish registry, the outlook was better, especially for nonindex cases involving nonsmokers. In this group, survival closely approximated that of the healthy Danish population. The Danish registry confirmed the poor outlook for index cases and the additional mortality risk among patients who smoked.

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