Systematic review: the natural history of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, and associated liver disease.

Townsend, S A, Edgar, R G, Ellis, P R, Kantas, D, Newsome, P N and Turner, A M (2018) Systematic review: the natural history of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, and associated liver disease. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics. ISSN 1365-2036.

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Official URL: 10.1111/apt.14537



Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is estimated to affect three million people worldwide. It causes liver disease in a proportion of carriers of the PiS and PiZ allele due to the formation and retention of polymers within the endoplasmic reticulum of hepatocytes. The reason for this selective penetrance is not known. Although clinical trials are underway, liver transplantation is the only effective treatment for liver disease due to AATD.


To report the prevalence and natural history of liver disease among individuals with AATD, and assess the outcomes of liver transplantation through systematic review.


A comprehensive search was conducted across multiple databases. Two independent authors selected the articles and assessed bias using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Data were pooled for analysis, where comparable outcomes were reported.


Thirty-five studies were identified related to disease progression and 12 for the treatment of AATD. Seven per cent of children were reported to develop liver cirrhosis, with 16.5% of individuals presenting in childhood requiring liver transplantation. Of those surviving to adulthood, 10.5% had liver cirrhosis and 14.7% required transplantation. Liver transplantation was the only effective treatment reported and outcomes compare favourably to other indications, with 5-year survival reported as over 90% in children and over 80% in adults.


The clinical course of liver disease in individuals with AATD remains poorly understood, but affects about 10% of those with AATD. More research is required to identify those patients at risk of developing liver disease at an early stage, and to provide alternative treatments to liver transplantation.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WF Respiratory system. Respiratory medicine
WJ Urogenital system. Urology
Divisions: Planned IP Care > Respiratory Medicine
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Depositing User: Miss Emily Johnson
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2018 15:15
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2018 15:15

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