Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency in the elderly: a case report
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Generally, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is suspected in young patients with pulmonary emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Patients often suffer from diagnostic gaps and are misdiagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), as AATD may present with nonspecific respiratory symptoms. It is never too late to suspect AATD, especially in a patient with an unusual medical history. In recent years, evidence is beginning to emerge that there may be value in identifying and treating patients who do not already have deterioration of functional parameters.

Authors describe a case of a 69-year-old Caucasian female patient, late diagnosis of AATD, with both severe bronchial hyperreactivity and numerous exacerbations due to the peculiar clinical history and the presence of a rare mutation; although not presenting forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) between 30 and 65%, the patient was treated with alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) augmentation therapy and achieved clinical and functional improvement.

AATD should always be suspected. The Alpha-1 Foundation recommendations for the diagnosis and management of AATD in adult patients indicate that treatment should be provided for patients with FEV1 between 30 and 65%. It may be useful to evaluate and treat patients based on clinical symptoms, even outside the established parameters, in particular cases.

Source: https://jmedicalcasereports.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13256-021-02847-w
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