Free AAT Deficiency screening is Wednesday

ELKINS – Thousands of adults have Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency and the majority goes undiagnosed. On Wednesday, Davis Medical Center (DMC) will host a public educational forum and free screening at 5 p.m. in the Cafeteria Overflow.

AAT deficiency is a condition in which the body does not make enough of a protein that protects the liver and lungs from damage. The condition can lead to emphysema and liver disease.

According to DMC cardio-pulmonary specialist Terri Pennington, RRT, NPS, the screening is done through a finger stick and provides an accurate diagnosis of AAT deficiency or rules it out altogether.

Marybeth Holder, an AAT deficiency patient, is the featured speaker and will talk about living with Alpha-1.

The event is open to the public, and those interested are encouraged to ask their family doctor if AAT deficiency testing is right for them. Some indicators for consideration of testing include:

Early-onset of pulmonary emphysema (regardless of smoking history)

Family members of those diagnosed with AAT deficiency

Liver disease of unknown cause

Those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Dyspnea and cough occurring in multiple family members

“The testing is only necessary once in a lifetime,” said Pennington. “And once diagnosed, the disease can be treated.”

Free testing is also available Mondays through Wednesdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the DMC Cardio-Pulmonary Department. For more information about the event or testing, call DMC at 304-637-3288.