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Study Shows Need to Test More COPD and Asthma Patients for Underdiagnosed Pulmonary Disease
Date:11/14/2007

On World COPD Day, Physicians Urged to Use Wider Screening Criteria for

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa., Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study finds that a higher than expected number of COPD and severe asthma patients had abnormal low levels of alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT), suggesting the need for broader criteria for AAT deficiency testing. AAT deficiency, also known as Alpha-1, is a widely undiagnosed hereditary disorder that is usually fatal in its severe form.

Alpha-1 is estimated to affect up to 100,000 Americans, but up to 95 percent are undiagnosed or have been misdiagnosed as having another form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Details of the study were presented at CHEST, the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians held in Chicago from October 20 to 25. Study results are being announced today on World COPD Day to focus attention on the need for wider testing for AAT deficiency.

"Findings from this study suggest that simply all patients with moderate or severe persistent asthma and/or COPD with chronic pulmonary symptoms should be tested for AAT deficiency," said Gary Rachelefsky, MD, Professor of Allergy and Immunology and Director of the Executive Care Center for Asthma, Allergy and Respiratory Diseases at UCLA School of Medicine and study investigator. "It is imperative that clinicians become more vigilant about Alpha-1 testing as many patients are going undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to screening criteria and practices."

The study, conducted by the Respiratory & Allergic Disease Foundation, recruited 40 office-based pulmonologists across the United States who tested 454 adult patients using the following simple screening criteria: persistent asthma and/or COPD patients with loss of lung function defined by either a FEV1 (forced expiratory volume at 1 second) or a ratio of FEV1 to forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) of less than 70 percent. Blood tests
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SOURCE CSL Behring
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