Ethics. Research. Community.

Genetic testing of minors for alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency.

Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
BACKGROUND: Alpha(1)-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is a genetic disorder primarily affecting the lungs and liver of affected individuals, causing severe panlobular emphysema and cirrhosis. OBJECTIVE: To describe the demographics and feasibility of a home test for AATD in children and adolescents. DESIGN: Case series of parents who test their children for AATD. SETTING: Nonprofit supported program in which participants telephoned or e-mailed requests for alpha(1)-antitrypsin testing. PARTICIPANTS: All persons younger than 18 years whose parents or guardians chose to test for AATD from January 1, 2002, to October 1, 2004. INTERVENTIONS: Home-administered finger-stick blood spot test for alpha(1)-antitrypsin genotype and questionnaire. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The alpha(1)-antitrypsin genotypes and questionnaire responses. RESULTS: The Alpha Coded Testing Study tested 422 children and adolescents with a confidential test for AATD. Testing was suggested by a family member in most (76.7%) of the cases and was responsible for the many carrier (PIMZ and PIMS) genotypes (51.9%) in the study. Interest in testing was equally distributed among all ages. Test confidentiality was seen as an important reason to test (64.1% with a Likert scale score of 4-5 on a 5-point scale). Parents and guardians of the minors suggested that testing benefits (mean [SD] Likert score, 3.5 [1.4] on a 5-point scale) were higher than risks (mean [SD] Likert score, 1.7 [1.2]) (P=.001). CONCLUSION: Parents value genetic testing of their children at risk for AATD when testing can be done in a confidential setting.
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