Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Expert Forum
alpha-1 and pneumothorax
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alpha-1 and pneumothorax

I was recently diagnoised with copd.  After speaking to a resp ther tech, I was wondering if there is a connection between alpha-1 and pneumothorax.  I have had 3 spontanous pneumothorax's for no apparrant reason.  I was wondering if ther is a connection between the two.  I have read that approx 3% of people have been misdiagnoised with copd instead of the alpha-1.  What are the possibilities?
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Yes, there is a well-described association between alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and pneumothorax.  This deficiency state is associated with an increased risk of pneumonia, with asthma, chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis.  There is also an increased risk of pneumothorax in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), whatever the cause, with or without alpha-1 deficiency.  The alpha-1 deficiency state may be an independent risk factor for pneumothorax; independent, that is, of the COPD resultant from the deficiency.  Either way, those with alpha-1 deficiency are at increased risk of pneumothorax.

You state, " I have read that approx 3% of people have been misdiagnoised with copd instead of the alpha-1."  It is estimated that 1 to 3% of people with COPD have alpha-1 deficiency as the primary cause, the progression of COPD in these individuals greatly hastened by cigarette smoking or the inhalation of other irritants.  The misdiagnosis you refer to is the failure to appreciate that a given individual with COPD, has alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.

Good luck.
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