Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a laboratory test to measure the amount of alpha-1 antitrypsin (A1AT) in your blood.
A blood sample is needed. For information on how thisis done, see: Venipuncture
There is no special preparation.
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, you may feel moderate pain, or only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
This test is helpful in identifying a rare form of emphysema in adults and a rare form of liver disease (cirrhosis) in children and adults caused by an A1AT deficiency. A1AT deficiency is passed down through families. The condition causes the liver to make too little of a protein that protects the lungs and liver from damage.
Everyone has two copies of the gene that makes A1AT. Most people with lower than normal levels of A1AT have one normal gene for A1AT, and one abnormal gene. Persons with two abnormal copies of the gene have more severe disease.
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
Lower than normal levels of A1AT may be associated with:
There is very little risk involved with having your blood taken. Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Taking blood from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
Niewoehner DE. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 88.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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