Systemic necrotizing vasculitides in severe alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency.

Original article


Mazodier P, Elzouki AN, Segelmark M, Eriksson S.

Department of Medicine, Lowenstromska Hospital, Stockholm County, Sweden.

QJM. 1996 Aug;89(8):599-611.


We describe the clinical presentation and outcome in a series of eight patients with systemic necrotizing vasculitis and severe alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency followed up at three Swedish hospitals during 1968-92. We also review six other cases reported in the literature during the same period. Diagnosis of severe AAT deficiency was based on the presence of the PiZZ phenotype, or low plasma total trypsin inhibitory capacity, or a low plasma AAT concentration (10-40% of the normal mean value) and presence of the PiSZ or PiFZ phenotype. The diagnosis of systemic vasculitis was biopsy-verified in all eight patients. Pretreatment laboratory findings, treatment protocol, and outcome were reviewed in each of the 14 patients. Of the eight patients in the Swedish series, six had systemic vasculitis of the microscopic polyangiitis form, one had Wegener’s granulomatosis, and another had Henoch-Schonlein purpura. In the series as a whole (n = 14), median age at diagnosis was 48 years (range 44-84), the median number of affected organs was eight, and all 14 patients had skin involvement, and either renal or joint involvement (in most cases both); 71% (10/14) had emphysema; 57% (8/14) had hepatic abnormalities (two having cirrhosis, two fibrosis, and one multiple aneurysms in hepatic arteries); one patient who presented with acute ulcerative colitis developed manifest vasculitic syndrome three years later; and 64% (9/14) died, the major cause of death being renal failure. This syndrome, characterized by multiple organ involvement and fatal outcome, has been underdiagnosed. Physicians should be alert to the presence of the PiZ AAT deficiency gene in patients with systemic vasculitis, especially when the course is progressive or when the patient also has emphysema or cirrhosis. Awareness of those features may aid prompt recognition and enable early treatment.

Keywords: Systemic necrotizing vasculitides in severe alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency.