Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Test

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Test

Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) is a protein produced in the liver that helps protect the lungs from damage caused by enzymes. Low levels of this protein can result in serious lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchiectasis. The Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Test is used to measure levels of the protein in the blood to determine if there is an increased risk of developing a lung disease.

Preparation for the Test

No preparation is necessary for this test. It can be taken as part of a routine physical exam or as prompted by certain symptoms or personal risk factors.

Procedure for the Test

A small sample of blood is drawn from a vein in the arm. The sample is then analyzed in the laboratory to determine the amount of alpha-1 antitrypsin present. Results are typically available within one to two days.

Types of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Test

There is one type of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Test:

  • Quantitative Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Test: Measures the amount of alpha-1 antitrypsin protein in the blood.

Risks of the Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Test

Risks associated with a Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Test are minimal. However, as with any procedure involving the withdrawal of blood, there is a small risk of infection or reactions at the puncture site.

Why it is done?

The Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Test is typically done when an individual has symptoms of a lung disease, such as shortness of breath or a persistent cough. It may also be done if an individual is at risk for developing a lung disease due to a family history of Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.

When to get tested?

Your doctor may recommend an Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Test if you have any symptoms of lung disease or a family history of Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Your doctor may also recommend the test if you are a smoker or have a respiratory illness such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).