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      An analysis of the degree of concordance among international guidelines regarding alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency

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          Practice guidelines (PGs) attempt to standardize practice to optimize care. For uncommon lung diseases like alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), a paucity of definitive studies and geographic variation in prevalence may hamper guideline generation. The current study assembled and assesses the degree of concordance among available PGs regarding AATD.


          To assess concordance, 15 eligible guidelines focused on AATD were evaluated regarding recommendations surrounding 24 key clinical issues. A Delphi process achieved consensus on ratings for each statement among 3 reviewers. Agreement was quantified as the proportion of guideline comparisons with a matching rating.


          The overall level of agreement was 47% (1190/2520 comparisons). The overall “affirmative agreement percentage” (ie, when guidelines agreed in endorsing a practice), was 42% (501/1190 comparisons). The agreement for individual clinical statements ranged from 26% to 75%. A broad consensus was seen in the recommendation to test all patients with a history of fixed obstruction on pulmonary function testing (either from asthma or COPD). Given that AATD is an under-recognized disease and that diagnosis often occurs at a late stage, the authors are encouraged by this consensus. Where overall the guidelines were less explicit was when to refer to a specialist or AATD center. Deciding on a treatment strategy requires a thorough understanding of the alpha 1 serum level, genotype, pulmonary function testing, and imaging, and therefore the authors feel that all patients would benefit from a specialty referral if the diagnosis of AATD is being considered.


          Available guidelines regarding AATD frequently disagreed in management recommendations. Possible explanations for discordance include differences in regional prevalence, availability of augmentation therapy, and insurance environments. Attempts to harmonize the various guidelines by empaneling a broadly representative international group of disease experts should be considered for AATD. Similar comparisons among guidelines for other diseases are recommended.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Intravenous augmentation treatment and lung density in severe α1 antitrypsin deficiency (RAPID): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

          The efficacy of α1 proteinase inhibitor (A1PI) augmentation treatment for α1 antitrypsin deficiency has not been substantiated by a randomised, placebo-controlled trial. CT-measured lung density is a more sensitive measure of disease progression in α1 antitrypsin deficiency emphysema than spirometry is, so we aimed to assess the efficacy of augmentation treatment with this measure.
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            Prevalence of α1-antitrypsin deficiency alleles PI*S and PI*Z worldwide and effective screening for each of the five phenotypic classes PI*MS, PI*MZ, PI*SS, PI*SZ, and PI*ZZ: a comprehensive review.

            Genetic epidemiological studies on the prevalence and numbers of individuals with α1-antitrypsin deficiency in each of 97 countries worldwide were used to estimate the numbers in each of the five following phenotypic classes: PI*MS, PI*MZ, PI*SS, PI*SZ, and PI*ZZ. These 97 countries were then grouped into 10 major geographic regions to make it possible to compare the numbers in each of these five phenotypic classes in immediately adjacent countries. Such groupings also make it possible to review the spread of the PI*S and PI*Z alleles from one major geographic grouping to another in the world as well as the spread of these two deficiency alleles within a major geographic region. The data in the 10 tables on the numbers in each of the five phenotypic classes in the countries in the same geographic region as well as the prevalence of the PI*S and PI*Z alleles in countries in the same geographic region provide a novel database for the identification of large numbers of individuals in a given phenotypic class. The database also provides useful information for the identification of countries with high numbers of PI*ZZ individuals for augmentation therapy within a given geographic region.
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              Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency: memorandum from a WHO meeting.

              alpha 1-Antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency, also known as alpha 1-antiprotease inhibitor deficiency, is a disease caused by genetically determined AAT deficiency. It occurs as a result of inheritance of two protease inhibitor (PI) deficiency alleles from the AAT gene locus (designated PI) on chromosomal segment 14q32.1. The most common deficiency allele is PI*Z and a large majority of individuals with severe AAT deficiency are PI type ZZ. The disease occurs predominantly in white persons of European origin and its frequency in Europe and North America is comparable to that of cystic fibrosis (1 in 2000 to 1 in 7000.) Persons with AAT deficiency may have no clinical manifestations. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with a high frequency of panacinar emphysema is the most prevalent clinical disorder associated with AAT deficiency and the most frequent cause of disability and death. Tobacco smoking is the major risk factor for developing COPD, which generally begins by the third decade of life, much earlier than "usual" COPD that occurs in AAT-replete individuals. Liver disease, the second most frequent clinical manifestation of AAT deficiency, typically presents as cholestasis in infancy but is usually not severe and generally remits by adolescence. Chronic liver disease develops infrequently, although AAT deficiency is the commonest cause of chronic liver disease in childhood. Cirrhosis and carcinoma of the liver affect at least 25% of AAT-deficient adults over the age of 50 years. AAT deficiency appears to be widely underdiagnosed and based on predicted gene frequencies even in the most intensely studied populations, only a small proportion of those predicted to have AAT deficiency have been diagnosed. Human AAT is available in limited quantity for augmentation therapy. This Memorandum summarizes the discussions and recommendations made by participants at a WHO meeting held in Geneva on 18-20 March 1996 to review existing knowledge about this highly prevalent genetic disorder, develop a strategy for enhancing awareness of it among health-care-givers and the general public, and explore new case-finding and disease-prevention strategies.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                05 September 2019
                : 14
                : 2089-2101
                [1 ]Cleveland Clinic Lerner School of Medicine , Cleveland, OH, USA
                [2 ]Respiratory Institute, Cleveland Clinic , Cleveland, OH, USA
                [3 ]Department of Hospital Medicine, Cleveland Clinic , Cleveland, OH, USA
                [4 ]Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Program, National Jewish Health , Denver, CO, USA
                [5 ]Alpha-1 Foundation , Coral Gables, FL, USA
                [6 ]Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic , Cleveland, OH, USA
                [7 ]Education Institute, Cleveland Clinic , Cleveland, OH, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Amy AttawayRespiratory Institute, Cleveland Clinic , 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH44195, USATel +1 216 445 2807Email
                © 2019 Attaway et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 7, References: 28, Pages: 13
                Original Research


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