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Who Is at Risk for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency?

Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency occurs in all ethnic groups. However, the condition occurs most often in White people of European descent.

AAT deficiency is an inherited condition. "Inherited" means the condition is passed from parents to children through genes.

If you have bloodline relatives with known AAT deficiency, you're at increased risk for the condition. Even so, it doesn't mean that you'll develop one of the diseases related to the condition.

Some risk factors make it more likely that you'll develop lung disease if you have AAT deficiency. Smoking is the leading risk factor for serious lung disease if you have AAT deficiency. Your risk for lung disease also may go up if you're exposed to dust, fumes, or other toxic substances.

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Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, visit

October 11, 2011 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.