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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Alpha-1-antitrypsin defiency

03/03/2009

Question:

looking for some advice on Alpha-1-antitrypsin defiency. My mum has been suffering from this disease for the past fourteen years and is progressivley getting worse. Doctors are treating her with antibiotics, steroids and supplement oxygen. However I have researched AAT and found patients who show signs of developing emphysema can be treated with protein replacement, which can prevent further damage to the lungs. Is this treatment available in the uk? or can you provide any other advice?

Answer:

I believe that alpha-1 replacement therapy is available throughout Europe as it is in the United States. The decision to treat with it however is complex.

From the description, your mother has very severe emphysema. Particular attention should be paid to key issues of smoking cessation, inhaled bronchodilators, and pulmonary rehabilitation before considering replacement therapy.

Controversy remains about the effectiveness of replacement therapy in preventing further damage but it is reasonable to consider if the key issues mentioned above are addressed.

For more information:

Go to the COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Mark D Wewers, MD Mark D Wewers, MD
Professor of Pulmonology, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
Molecular Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics
Environmental Health Sciences
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University