Skip to content
This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff and is brought to you by Grifols.

If you have alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AAT deficiency), you may worry about liver disease. AAT deficiency can cause liver disease, most often in infants and small children.

Most people don't have serious liver problems, though. And if you have a young child with AAT deficiency, she will most likely go on to enjoy a healthy childhood.

Your best defense is to live healthy and work with your doctor to help prevent liver problems or ease them if they do happen.

How AAT Deficiency Affects Your Liver

AAT deficiency is a rare disease that makes an enzyme in your liver work poorly. AAT protein is made in your liver. It usually travels through your bloodstream to protect your lungs and other organs from damage. But if the proteins aren't the right shape, they can get stuck in your liver.  

This can cause cirrhosis, severe liver damage and scarring, and liver cancer. It can also cause lung problems.

Liver Symptoms

If you are an adult whose liver is affected by AAT deficiency, you may have:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes)
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling or pain in your belly

A child born with AAT deficiency may have liver symptoms in the first weeks of life. See your child's doctor if your infant has the above symptoms or:

  • Poor growth
  • Diarrhea
  • Itching

Liver symptoms may also appear when a child is older. These can include:

  • Poor appetite
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Fatigue

Are You at Risk?

You can only get AAT deficiency if your parents carry the gene and pass it on to you.

You are less likely to get liver problems if only one of your parents carries the AAT deficiency gene. Your risk is highest if both your parents carry it.

Most people with AAT deficiency don't have liver problems. Your lifetime chance of getting them is 30% to 40%. If you're an adult, liver disease is most likely after age 50.

is the cause of your copd genetic

Is the Cause of Your COPD Genetic?

Knowing if you have alpha-1 is the first step to getting help from your doctor. An alpha-1 blood test is the only way for you and your doctor to know whether you have alpha-1. And if you do, your doctor can discuss potential treatment options and testing for other family members.

close

From Our Sponsor

Content under this heading is from or created on behalf of the named sponsor. This content is not subject to the WebMD Editorial Policy and is not reviewed by the WebMD Editorial department for accuracy, objectivity or balance.

Important Safety Information

PROLASTIN®-C (alpha1-proteinase inhibitor [human]) is indicated for chronic augmentation and maintenance therapy in adults with clinically evident emphysema due to severe deficiency of alpha1-proteinase inhibitor (alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency).

The effect of augmentation therapy with any alpha1-proteinase inhibitor (alpha1-PI), including PROLASTIN-C, on pulmonary exacerbations and on the progression of emphysema in alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency has not been conclusively demonstrated in randomized, controlled clinical trials. Clinical data demonstrating the long-term effects of chronic augmentation or maintenance therapy with PROLASTIN-C are not available.

PROLASTIN-C is not indicated as therapy for lung disease in patients in whom severe alpha1-PI deficiency has not been established. PROLASTIN-C is contraindicated in IgA-deficient patients with antibodies against IgA due to risk of hypersensitivity.

Hypersensitivity reactions may occur. Should evidence of hypersensitivity reaction be observed, promptly stop infusion and begin appropriate therapy.

PROLASTIN-C may contain trace amounts of IgA. Patients with known antibodies to IgA, which can be present in patients with selective or severe IgA deficiency, have a greater risk of developing potentially severe hypersensitivity and anaphylactic reactions. PROLASTIN-C is contraindicated in patients with antibodies against IgA.

The most common drug-related adverse reaction observed at a rate of > 5% in subjects receiving PROLASTIN-C was upper respiratory tract infection. The most serious adverse reaction observed during clinical trials with PROLASTIN-C was an abdominal and extremity rash in 1 subject.

Because PROLASTIN-C is made from human plasma, it may carry a risk of transmitting infectious agents, eg, viruses and, theoretically, the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) agent.

Please see PROLASTIN-C full Prescribing Information for complete prescribing details.