Improving Detection of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency: Role of the Allergist

Timothy J. Craig, Mark L. Corbett, J. Allen Meadows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is a genetic disorder that manifests as lung and/or liver disease. Because symptoms of AATD overlap with those of common pulmonary and hepatic conditions, AATD is often misdiagnosed, which has resulted in substantial underdiagnosis of AATD worldwide. Although screening patients for AATD is recommended, the lack of procedures to facilitate testing remains a barrier to accurate diagnosis of AATD. Delays in AATD diagnosis can worsen outcomes for patients by postponing appropriate disease-modifying treatments. Patients with AATD-related lung disease experience symptoms similar to other obstructive lung disorders and are often misdiagnosed for years. In addition to existing screening guidelines, we recommend that screening for AATD become a standard part of allergists’ workups of patients with asthma and fixed obstructive disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchiectasis without known origin, and patients under consideration for treatment with biologics. This Rostrum article reviews screening and diagnostic tests available in the United States and emphasizes evidence-based strategies to increase testing frequency and improve AATD detection rates. We underscore the pivotal role of allergists in managing care for patients with AATD. Finally, we urge health care providers to be aware of potentially poor clinical outcomes among patients with AATD during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2348-2354
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy

Cite this