Reversible airway obstruction in children with ataxia telangiectasia

Yackov Berkun, Daphna Vilozni, Yonit Levi, Sheron Borik, Dalia Waldman, Raz Somech, Andreea Nissenkorn, Ori Efrati*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Lung disease is a significant cause of the short life span of ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) patients. Objective lung function measurements are difficult to achieve in A-T. Aim: To assess lung function by spirometry in relation to the clinical characteristics of A-T patients followed up at the Israeli Ataxia Telangiectasia National Clinic. Patients and Methods: Medical and spirometry data were collected from 27 A-T patients during 2004-2007. Laboratory, nutritional condition, mode of treatment, pulmonary status, and malignancieswere assessed. The spirometry values FVC, FEV1, FEV 0.5, FEF25-75, PEF and time rise to peak flow were analyzed individually and values were compared to those of healthy age-matched children. Results: Eleven patients (40.7%) were found to suffer from asthma according to clinical symptoms and response to bronchodilators. We found significant reduction in FEV1 and FEV0.5 (z-scores: -0.84±0.7 SD, -0.7±0.6 SD; P=0.0014 and P=0.003, respectively), in relation to healthy predicted values. FEF25-75 was significantly lower than that in healthy children in 5 of 11 asthmatic patients. All 27 patients showed higher than healthy FEV1/FVC and FEV0.5/FVC ratios (z-scores 0.68±0.99 SD, P<0.0015, and 2.12±1.50 SD, P<0.0015, respectively). The rise time to peak flow was three-fold longer than that of healthy children. Conclusion: Obstructive lung disease is common among A-T patients. Maximal peak flow reduction and prolonged rise time to peak flow may be the first signs of pulmonary involvement in these patients. Early treatment with anti-asthma therapy, bronchodilators, and steroids, may prevent further pulmonary deterioration and improve the prognosis of A-T patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-235
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Pulmonology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Airway obstruction
  • Ataxia telangiectasia
  • Children


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