Exacerbations in subjects with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency receiving augmentation therapy

Respir Med. 2009 Oct;103(10):1532-9. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2009.04.008. Epub 2009 May 21.


Background: The frequency, characteristics and impact of acute exacerbations in patients with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) and COPD who are on intravenous alpha-1 antitrypsin augmentation therapy have not been described.

Methods: 922 subjects with AATD and COPD on augmentation therapy (mean age 54.5 years) were followed with monthly telephone surveys to record exacerbation characteristics, as well as healthcare resource utilization and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Exacerbations were defined by symptom-based and healthcare resource utilization (HRU) criteria.

Results: During the 1-year follow-up, 91.5% of participants experienced at least one exacerbation (mean 2.4 exacerbations per subject, median 2, and mean duration 17 days per episode, regardless of the definition used). Most exacerbations were categorized as severe by symptoms and moderate by HRU criteria. Subjects who had 3 or more exacerbations (48.6%) were younger, had higher medication use and had higher tobacco consumption compared with subjects with less exacerbations. Subjects with frequent exacerbations had the worst baseline HRQoL scores, as well as more physician visits, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations. Although most subjects received augmentation therapy on a weekly basis, other infusion schedules were more commonly observed in subjects with fewer exacerbations.

Conclusion: COPD exacerbations occur frequently and are associated with significant disease burden in subjects with AATD receiving augmentation therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / therapeutic use*
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency / etiology
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency / physiopathology*
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency / therapy


  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin