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      Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Augmentation Therapy Improves Survival in Severely Deficient Patients with Predicted FEV1 Between 10% and 60%: A Retrospective Analysis of the NHLBI Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Registry

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          The extent of the survival benefit of augmentation therapy for alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) in individuals with advanced COPD is difficult to define. We performed a retrospective analysis using all available data from the observational registry of individuals with severe deficiency of alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) conducted by the NHLBI investigators.

          Patients and Methods

          Individuals (N=1129) with severe deficiency of AAT were evaluated for mortality using all data sources and stratified by 10% increments of baseline forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) percent predicted and by augmentation therapy status (ever receiving versus never receiving). Kaplan–Meier survival curves were constructed for each of the deciles comparing survival in treated vs non-treated groups. A multivariable model was performed to define the correlates of survival in individuals with FEV1 <30% predicted.


          Amongst all subjects, augmentation was associated with improved survival (p<0.0001). Among the individuals ever receiving augmentation therapy, survival was better than for those not receiving augmentation at all 10% increments of FEV1% predicted from 10% to 60% (P values <0.05 in all deciles). In subgroups of participants with hyperinflation defined as residual volume (RV)>120% predicted and in subgroups of participants with reduced diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) <70% predicted, there was significantly better survival for those ever receiving augmentation therapy than for those who never received augmentation (p<0.001). A multivariable analysis showed that mortality benefit is influenced by age, DLCO % predicted, and augmentation therapy.


          There is a survival benefit from augmentation therapy in AATD between FEV1 values in the 10–60% predicted range. Screening and treatment of AATD patients should therefore not be limited by the severity of illness as defined by FEV1.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Replacement therapy for alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency associated with emphysema.

          In patients with alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, the development of emphysema is believed to be caused by the unchecked action of proteases on lung tissue. We evaluated the feasibility, safety, and biochemical efficacy of intermittent infusions of alpha 1-antitrypsin in the treatment of patients with alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency. Twenty-one patients were given 60 mg of active plasma-derived alpha 1-antitrypsin per kilogram of body weight, once a week for up to six months. After a steady state had been reached, the group had trough serum levels of alpha 1-antitrypsin of 126 +/- 1 mg per deciliter as compared with 30 +/- 1 mg per deciliter before treatment, and serum anti-neutrophil elastase capacities of 13.3 +/- 0.1 microM as compared with 5.4 +/- 0.1 microM. The alpha 1-antitrypsin level in the epithelial-lining fluid of the lungs was 0.46 +/- 0.16 microM before treatment, and the anti-neutrophil elastase capacity was 0.81 +/- 0.13 microM. Six days after infusion, alpha 1-antitrypsin levels (1.89 +/- 0.17 microM) and anti-neutrophil elastase capacities (1.65 +/- 0.13 microM) in the lining fluid were significantly increased (P less than 0.0001). Because of the chronicity of the disorder and the lack of sensitive measures of lung destruction, the clinical efficacy of this therapy could not be studied rigorously. No changes in lung function were observed in our patients over six months of treatment. The only important adverse reactions to the 507 infusions were four episodes of self-limited fever. This study demonstrates that infusions of alpha 1-antitrypsin derived from plasma are safe and can reverse the biochemical abnormalities in serum and lung fluid that characterize this disorder. Together with lifetime avoidance of cigarette smoking, replacement therapy with alpha 1-antitrypsin may be a logical approach to long-term medical treatment.
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            Survival and FEV1 decline in individuals with severe deficiency of alpha1-antitrypsin. The Alpha-1-Antitrypsin Deficiency Registry Study Group.

            Subjects >= 18 yr of age with serum alpha1-antitrypsin (alpha1-AT) levels = 6 mo after enrolling, age and baseline FEV1% predicted were significant predictors of mortality. Results also showed that those subjects receiving augmentation therapy had decreased mortality (risk ratio [RR] = 0.64, 95% CI: 0. 43 to 0.94, p = 0.02) as compared with those not receiving therapy. Among 927 subjects with two or more FEV1 measurements >= 1 yr apart, the mean FEV1 decline was 54 ml/yr, with more rapid decline in males, those aged 30 to 44 yr, current smokers, those with FEV1 35 to 79% predicted, and those who ever had a bronchodilator response. Among all subjects, FEV1 decline was not different between augmentation-therapy groups (p = 0.40). However, among subjects with a mean FEV1 35 to 49% predicted, FEV1 decline was significantly slower for subjects receiving than for those not receiving augmentation therapy (mean difference = 27 ml/yr, 95% CI: 3 to 51 ml/yr; p = 0.03). Because this was not a randomized trial, we cannot exclude the possibility that these differences may have been due to other factors for which we could not control.
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              Standardized single breath normal values for carbon monoxide diffusing capacity.

               R Crapo,  A.-B. Morris (1981)
              Prediction equations for DLCO and diffusing capacity per unit of lung volume (DL/VA) were generated from 245 normal subjects (122 women and 123 men) using a standardized technique for measuring DLCO. Measurements were made at an altitude of 1,400 meters. Multiple linear regressions were made using standard and robust regression techniques. The resultant equations predicted values for DLCO and DL/VA that were higher than most previously reported values. The use of robust regressions did not add to the predictability of standard linear regressions.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                03 December 2020
                : 15
                : 3193-3199
                [1 ]Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Cleveland Clinic Florida , Weston, FL, USA
                [2 ]Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy and Sleep Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina , Charleston, SC, USA
                [3 ]Department of Public Health Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina , Charleston, SC, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Franck F Rahaghi Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Cleveland Clinic Florida , Weston, FL, USATel +1 954 659 5450Fax +1 954 6595451 Email
                © 2020 Rahaghi 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: 3, References: 18, Pages: 7
                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                fev1, survival, mortality, augmentation therapy, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, copd


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