Comparison of different algorithms in laboratory diagnosis of Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency

Alice M. Balderacchi, Valentina Barzon, Stefania Ottaviani, Alessandra Corino, Michele Zorzetto, Marion Wencker, Angelo G. Corsico, Ilaria Ferrarotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is an inherited condition that predisposes individuals to an increased risk of developing lung and liver disease. Even though AATD is one of the most widespread inherited diseases in Caucasian populations, only a minority of affected individuals has been detected. Whereas methods have been validated for AATD testing, there is no universally-established algorithm for the detection and diagnosis of the disorder. In order to compare different methods for diagnosing AATD, we carried out a systematic review of the literature on AATD diagnostic algorithms. Complete biochemical and molecular analyses of 5,352 samples processed in our laboratory were retrospectively studied using each of the selected algorithms. When applying the diagnostic algorithms to the same samples, the frequency of False Negatives varied from 1.94 to 12.9%, the frequency of True Negatives was 62.91% for each algorithm and the frequency of True Positives ranged from 24.19 to 35.15%. We, therefore, highlighted some differences among Negative Predictive Values, ranging from 0.83 to 0.97. Accordingly, the sensitivity of each algorithm ranged between 0.61 and 0.95. We also postulated 1.108 g/L as optimal AAT cut-off value, in absence of inflammatory status, which points to the possible presence of genetic AATD. The choice of the diagnostic algorithm has a significant impact on the correct diagnosis of AATD, which is essential for appropriate treatment and medical care. The fairly large number of possible false negative diagnoses revealed by the present paper should also warn clinicians of negative results in patients with clinically-suspected AATD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • algorithm
  • Alpha1-antitrypin
  • cut-off
  • diagnosis
  • genetic test
  • laboratory analysis
  • rare diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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